Response from EPATH to Swedish documentary

Dec 16, 2021

This summer, EPATH board members Guy T’Sjoen and Annelou de Vries, as well as our conference host Attila Fazekas, have given their time and trust for the making of a documentary ‘Uppdrag granskning” on transgender youth prepared by Carolina Jemsby. We wish to inform our members and the general public about this, and have sent the following letter to Carolina Jemsby as well:

It is with concern and disappointment that we have watched the result of this work and our participation. We want to let everybody know that we distantiate ourselves and EPATH from the content of the documentary, which suggests that puberty blockers have serious unknown side effects and that medical providers of gender affirming medical treatment keep these uncertainties covered.

EPATH believes that the clinical approach for transgender adolescents that includes puberty blockers if indicated, is a valuable and essential part of transgender care. We are concerned about the Swedish situation where puberty blockers are at present not available for transgender youth.

We adhere to our earlier statement as e.g. described in the WPATH editorial ‘Bell v Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust [2020] EWHC 3274: Weighing current knowledge and uncertainties in decisions about gender-related treatment for transgender adolescents‘ where we conclude that “While medical care for transgender adolescents deserves further research and evidence (as with many fields), withholding such treatment is not an innocuous option and is likely to cause harm” and “The assumption that medical interventions for transgender youth are less necessary than for other areas of medical pediatric practice is misguided and not supported by the evidence of the mental health burden carried by untreated transgender youth”.

We repeat the conclusion of that statement and want to make clear that we support the provision of healthcare to gender diverse people in a timely manner such that they can live their best lives. We are gravely concerned that this documentary will have a significantly adverse impact upon gender diverse youth and their families by imposing barriers to care that are needlessly intimidating, causing uncertainty and worries, and are inherently discriminatory.

It is EPATH’s mission to promote mental, physical and social health of transgender people in Europe, and to foster the European knowledge and skills in transgender care. It is with that intention and trust that we invited Carolina Jemsby to broadcast our conference in Gothenburg and participated in an open and honest conversation. The resulting documentary does not reflect what we have said and contests our mission.