Class action lawyers are sharks. But sharks play an important role in the ecosystem. They devour the rotting carcasses of whales, whose bones drift to the murky depths of the ocean floor.
So the news that class action lawyers in Australia and Britain are taking on the transgender establishment gives hope that “detransitioners” – teenagers who regret changing to their gender – will get justice. The social ecosystem for children could revive.
In Sydney, Slater & Gordon, the Great White of Australian consumer law firms, is representing a 31-year-old woman, Jay Langadinos, who is suing her psychiatrist for professional negligence.
In 2010, the psychiatrist made a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Two years later, he saw “no contraindication” for a bilateral mastectomy. A few months after that, he gave a hysterectomy a tick.
By 2016, Ms Langadinos realised that she had made a mistake. After consultation with a different psychiatrist, she “came to the realisation that she should not have undergone the hormone therapy or the first and second surgeries”. “Knowing that I can’t have children is absolutely devastating,” she told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
The solicitor who referred Ms Langadinos to Slater & Gordon says that this complaint is “likely to be the tip of the iceberg”. “We can expect to see extensive litigation in future years related to gender-affirming cross-sex hormones and surgeries,” said Anna Kerr, of Sydney’s Feminist Legal Clinic.
Journalists describe Slater & Gordon as one of Australia’s highest-profile ambulance chasers. It is aggressive and successful. It won the biggest shareholder class action settlement in Australian legal history against the retail property group, Centro. It represented hundreds of refugees on Manus Island against the Commonwealth government and notched up the largest human rights settlement in Australian legal history,
And now it appears that it will represent young women and men whose lives have been destroyed by transgender medicine.
In Britain, another dramatic development must be sending a chill down the spines of transgender doctors.
Last month the UK’s only gender clinic, the Tavistock, was ordered to close its doors over concerns for the safety of its patients. This bad news was followed by worse news: more than 1000 families of former patients are expected to join a class action organised by one of the world’s leading class action firms, Pogust Goodhead. It plans to sue the Tavistock for recklessly prescribing puberty blockers and unquestioningly launching children on a “gender affirmation” path.
The law firm’s CEO, Tom Goodhead, told The [London] Times: “Children and young adolescents were rushed into treatment without the appropriate therapy and involvement of the right clinicians, meaning that they were misdiagnosed and started on a treatment pathway that was not right for them. These children have suffered life-changing and, in some cases, irreversible effects of the treatment they received . . . We anticipate that at least 1,000 clients will join this action.”
If Slater & Gordon is a Great White, Pogust Goodhead is a Megalodon. The British-Brazilian-American partnership has handled enormous cases. It is currently acting on behalf of more than 200,000 Brazilians whose lives were upended by a mining disaster nearly a decade ago. In the last year, it has won some major cases, including a settlement in May on behalf of 15,000 claimants against Volkswagen. In 2021 it won an award for 16,000 victims of a British Airways data breach. It can be expected to pursue the case against Tavistock energetically.
Do the sharks have a case? The very fact that they have agreed to represent detransitioners against transgender doctors and gender clinics means that they are confident.
In the UK, legal and medical opinion seems to be shifting in favour of detransitioners. The Tavistock – which has been “the model for treating trans people around the world” — has been forced to close. It is not, according to a report written by Hilary Cass, a former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, “a safe or viable long-term option in view of concerns about lack of peer review and the ability to respond to the increasing demand.”
Dr Cass, who was appointed the chair of an independent review of gender identity services for children and young people in late 2020, spoke with devastating candour. “My interim report highlighted the gaps in the evidence base regarding all aspects of gender care for children and young people,” she said, “from epidemiology through to assessment, diagnosis, support, counselling and treatment.”
She zeroed in on the single most controversial issue, the use of puberty blockers for children with gender dysphoria. Her judgement was devastating. She declared that there is a “lack of clarity about whether the rationale for prescription is as an initial part of a transition pathway or as a ‘pause’ to allow more time for decision making.” As a result, she wrote: “We therefore have no way of knowing whether, rather than buying time to make a decision, puberty blockers may disrupt that decision-making process.”
In short, the teenagers who transitioned may not have been able to give informed consent to life-changing medical procedures. If claims like this can be proven in court, transgender medicine for teenagers could be doomed.
The lawyers will not address the numerous sociological, psychological, ethical and philosophical questions swirling around the transgender movement. But if doctors fear that they might be sued for malpractice if they cooperate with an autistic teenager’s desire to transition, far fewer people will be harmed. And detransitioners will get the justice they deserve.