The Minister for Women, Victoria Atkins, has sparked anger amongst LGBT activists, and the transgender community especially, by expressing concern about the number of young people receiving gender reassignment therapy. In the Daily Telegraph, Ms Atkins expressed concern about the rising number of young people getting referred to gender identity services, stating that "We need to get down to the reasons why this is happening". Her comments have provoked criticism from LGBT activist groups who believe that her claims are damaging to the representation of transgender people in the media [VIDEO] whilst they are already facing widespread prejudice from right-wing news corporations.

Ms Atkins under fire for suggesting treatment is taken 'lightly'

Ms Atkins even went so far as to say that more young people may be seeking gender reassignment therapy in order to find "an answer to questions they are perhaps not asking themselves". The Conservative MP's comments have caused much hurt in the transgender community with equal rights activists arguing that it is "damaging to imply that trans teens are being given treatment lightly".

Activist groups are unhappy with the suggestion that young transgender individuals are resorting to treatment without giving it serious thought, especially when considering that transgender teens often have to fight to be referred to Gender Identity Clinics and to have their distress taken seriously by doctors.

The Conservative MP went on to say that she is "cautious of the use of those treatments" due to their "life changing" effects.

However, this suggestion that transgender teens may regret their decision [VIDEO] to pursue therapy has long been reiterated by public figures who are against the use of gender reassignment therapy even though figures do not back-up these ideas. Only a very small number of individuals ever de-transition after receiving treatment.

Trans lives are 'at stake' over the comments

LGBT equal rights activists have expressed that the minister for women's statement has the potential to be extremely harmful to young transgender people who already experience a disproportionate amount of harassment and bullying in society.

The Guardian cited Fox Fisher, a prominent campaigner for transgender rights and a patron for the LGBT+ helpline, as saying that "Trans people's lives are at stake here, and we know what we need". To imply that trans teens should be further scrutinised over their decision to pursue treatment may stop others from seeking therapy until their distress becomes so acute that their mental health will be put at risk. The women's minister has also been accused of speaking on the issue without properly having an understanding of the situation, as she spoke about her concerns after simply reading an article 'in the paper.