8 episodes

From Tortoise, journalist Polly Curtis tells the story of the Gender Identity Development Service for children and young people at the Tavistock. The Tavi, as it’s known, is the only NHS clinic in England and Wales which treats children suffering from gender dysphoria. Its critics have accused it of fast-tracking young people into changing gender. Its supporters argue it has provided help and support, even a lifeline for some. In a few months time the clinic will close. This is the story of what happened.
You can listen to the full series ad-free and get access to exclusive bonus content by downloading the Tortoise audio app or subscribing to Tortoise+ on Apple podcasts. Or join ts a member to support our investigations and get invites to exclusive events. Go to tortoisemedia.com and enter the code Polly50 for half price membership.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

The Tavistock: inside the gender clinic Tortoise

    • News
    • 3.5 • 41 Ratings

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Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

From Tortoise, journalist Polly Curtis tells the story of the Gender Identity Development Service for children and young people at the Tavistock. The Tavi, as it’s known, is the only NHS clinic in England and Wales which treats children suffering from gender dysphoria. Its critics have accused it of fast-tracking young people into changing gender. Its supporters argue it has provided help and support, even a lifeline for some. In a few months time the clinic will close. This is the story of what happened.
You can listen to the full series ad-free and get access to exclusive bonus content by downloading the Tortoise audio app or subscribing to Tortoise+ on Apple podcasts. Or join ts a member to support our investigations and get invites to exclusive events. Go to tortoisemedia.com and enter the code Polly50 for half price membership.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Episode one: A verdict

    Episode one: A verdict

    In the summer of 2022 the NHS announced it was winding up the Gender Identity Development Service for children and young people at the Tavistock. Critics of the service celebrated, its supporters were left in despair. In this series journalist Polly Curtis has spent months trying to understand what happened at GIDS. Why has it attracted such criticism and what is the best way going forward of treating young people with gender dysphoria? 
    All episodes are now available to listen for free. Tortoise members can listen ad-free and get access to bonus content coming soon, as well as more Tortoise investigations and invites to exclusive events. Go to tortoisemedia.com and enter the code Polly50 for half price membership.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 38 min
    Episode two: The broom cupboard

    Episode two: The broom cupboard

    Polly Carmichael became the director of the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock in 2009. “I remember our office was literally a room that had probably been a broom cupboard at one stage”, she recalls. But the decision in 2011 to start offering puberty blockers to under-16s, and in 2016 to widen the professionals who could refer a child to GIDS had a major impact. The numbers of people on the waiting list ticked inexorably up, until the clinic felt it could barely cope. 
    All episodes are now available to listen for free. Tortoise members can listen ad-free and get access to bonus content coming soon, as well as more Tortoise investigations and invites to exclusive events. Go to tortoisemedia.com and enter the code Polly50 for half price membership.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 40 min
    Episode three: Thin ice

    Episode three: Thin ice

    As the increase in referrals to the Gender Identity Development Service increases, the profile of the young people seeking treatment changes too. There are now two natal girls for every natal boy, a complete reversal of what it had been a decade before. Polly Curtis tries to make sense of this change and goes to Blackpool which has the highest referral rate of anywhere in England. 
    All episodes are now available to listen for free. Tortoise members can listen ad-free and get access to bonus content coming soon, as well as more Tortoise investigations and invites to exclusive events. Go to tortoisemedia.com and enter the code Polly50 for half price membership.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 35 min
    Episode four: The enemy within

    Episode four: The enemy within

    The internal divisions at GIDS and the wider Tavistock centre spill out into the open. Whistleblowers are publicly critical of GIDS. One accuses the service of fast tracking young people onto puberty blockers after just one meeting with clinicians. The senior leadership team at GIDS desperately tries to hold the team together. Meanwhile the numbers on the waiting list tick up and up. 
    All episodes are now available to listen for free. Tortoise members can listen ad-free and get access to bonus content coming soon, as well as more Tortoise investigations and invites to exclusive events. Go to tortoisemedia.com and enter the code Polly50 for half price membership.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 34 min
    Episode five: The noise

    Episode five: The noise

    The public debate around the work of the Tavistock is getting louder. Kiera Bell wins a landmark ruling at the High Court which halts all new referrals for puberty blockers for under 18s on the NHS in England and Wales. She was prescribed puberty blockers at 16 but later decided she wants to detransition. The Tavistock appeals and the ruling is overturned. But for many people the narrative of the Gender Identity Development Service is now set in stone. 
    All episodes are now available to listen for free. Tortoise members can listen ad-free and get access to bonus content coming soon, as well as more Tortoise investigations and invites to exclusive events. Go to tortoisemedia.com and enter the code Polly50 for half price membership.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 38 min
    Episode six: The real scandal

    Episode six: The real scandal

    Polly Curtis investigates why NHS England accelerated the closure of GIDS and what the future of the service could look like for children and young people. 
    All episodes are now available to listen for free. Tortoise members can listen ad-free and get access to bonus content coming soon, as well as more Tortoise investigations and invites to exclusive events. Go to tortoisemedia.com and enter the code Polly50 for half price membership.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5
41 Ratings

41 Ratings

bored housekeeper ,

Failed attempt to put aside bias

I give the host credit for attempting to be impartial. I agree that this topic needs to be discussed openly and I hate the culture wars surrounding this. However, despite what other reviewers here have said, I felt her bias definitely weighed heavily throughout the series. For instance, she says that hormone blockers are not safe because they can cause the loss of bone density. While this is true, puberty blockers are widely considered to be safe despite that possible side effect, especially when considering the high cost of doing nothing for these kids. She also draws the conclusion that because most kids who take puberty blockers go on to surgically transition, that is proof that the puberty blockers are impacting them. She says it as if they were influenced to transition because of the puberty blockers, rather than considering that these kids knew themselves enough to understand that transition is what they wanted. There are several other instances in the podcast where you could tell that she definitely leans against the use of the type of treatment the center was offering. While I agree that more research and more data are needed, I also fully believe that when the parents and the doctors are telling people this is the best path for the child given what we do know, we need to concede to their judgement.

1.6180339887 ,

Disappointing lapse in journalistic integrity from Tortoise

I really loved Hoaxed and Dr. Anti-vax in their ability to look sympathetically at all parties involved while still resolutely committing to telling the facts and negative impacts of conspiracies targeting children and their caregivers. That rigor seems to be gone from this series, instead replaced with a tepid “both sides have valid points” analysis that refuses to draw firm conclusions. Like vaccines, the overwhelming medical consensus is that gender affirming care is the safest and most effective approach, and yet this series gives equal credence to pseudoscience peddlers with far right connections targeting one of the most vulnerable groups in society. Rather than doing the hard job of actual fact based journalism, Tortoise has instead chosen to pursue faux-neutrality, which is particularly concerning given the exterminationist ambitions of one side.

Geumpyhistory ,

Real, honest from each perspective

A balanced account that allows for wiggle room. Allows for nuance and imperfection, and notes that nothing is. Well researched and presented. Neutral but not non-emotional. If something is not the best thing, but better than the current thing, what is most ethical? Where does desire and preference fit in?

It is respectful to people who are trans. It is understanding of those who question the specific methods at this specific clinic, and balanced about what that may mean. Good podcast about a difficult subject. Human.

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