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WHO’s transgender health committee includes controversial Canadian activist who backs puberty blockers for kids

A controversial Canadian activist is among the all-transgender members of a World Health Organisation committee tasked with developing guidelines for the “health of “trans and gender diverse people”.

Florence Ashley, an assistant law professor at the University of Alberta in Canada, is a biological male who claims to be “trans-feminine”.

Ashley’s WHO biography describes him as a “bioethicist whose work focuses on trans issues in the legal and healthcare systems” and the author of 30 academic articles.

In a 2019 paper, “Thinking an ethics of gender exploration: Against delaying transition for transgender and gender creative youth”, Ashley argued that children should have access to puberty blockers “as the default option”.

“Unbounded social transition and ready access to puberty blockers ought to be seen as the default, and it is deviations from them that warrant justification,” he wrote.

“Social transition and puberty blockers – and, to an extent, hormone replacement therapy – facilitate exploration and prevent the foreclosure of identities brought on by delaying transition.”

The 21-person committee also includes Australian Teddy Cook, who works as an HIV clinic and describes himself as a “queer man of trans experience”, along with transgender activists from Uganda and Morocco.

All 21 are transgender, half have no medical background, and many have links to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), which in 2022 recommended age limits be removed for  irreversible “gender affirming” surgery, making children as young as nine eligible, TPUSA reported.

A WHO spokesman said the new transgender guidelines would focus on “adults only” rather than on controversial treatments for children.

“WHO guidelines are always based on balancing of available evidence, human rights principles, consideration of harms and benefits and inputs of end users and beneficiaries,” the spokesman said.

The committee has already been criticised by the UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, Reem Alsalem, who flagged “significant unmanaged conflicts of interest” in a letter to the WHO Director-General, the Daily Mail reported.

“Stakeholders whose views differ from those held by transgender activist organisations do not appear to have been invited,” she wrote.

“Such stakeholders include experts from European public health authorities who have taken the lead on developing an evidence-based and consequently cautious approach to youth gender transitions eg. England, Sweden and Finland.”

Florence Ashley (Instagram)

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