trans lives matter
© Joel Goodman / Global Look Press
''Protect Trans lives '' placard, Leeds, West Yorkshire. August 5, 2018.
A huge rise in the number of school-age girls seeking gender reassignment, which has seen an increase from 40 to 1,806 referrals in eight years, has prompted the UK government to request a study into the reasons behind the surge.

Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt has ordered research into the reasons behind the sharp rise in gender reassignment referrals among all children, but particularly girls, the Times reports.

The Tavistock and Portman Trust, the only place in England and Wales to offer a gender identity service in the NHS for 18 year-olds, has witnessed a big surge in girls referred to its gender identity development service for children.

According to the Trust, total referrals for boys and girls has risen from 97 cases in 2009-10 to 2,519 last year. Referrals of girls has seen a particularly large increase where eight years ago it saw 40 cases, but by 2017-18 that number had grown to 1,806 - more than double that of boys.

The Times report a source in the government equalities office as saying: "There is evidence that this trend is happening in other countries as well. Little is known, however, about why this is and what the long-term impacts are of the assessment and support young people receive through this NHS service."

The source added that the government was finalising the parameters of the study and would make public the details in due course.