The Tavistock and Portman secures £1.3 million for study to improve support for gender diverse young people

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded £1.3 million by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to carry out a study that will inform better, more individualised care for young people and their families struggling with issues relating to gender identity.

There is considerable interest in understanding more about how gender diverse young people should best be supported. Questions such as “Is early social transition always helpful?”, and “At what point should physical interventions be considered?” are hotly debated. Internationally there is increasing divergence between models of care in the face of an inadequate evidence base. There is therefore an urgent need for robust longitudinal studies.

The new Longitudinal Outcomes of Gender Identity in Children (LOGIC) study is innovative and will include both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Uniquely, an independent team of researchers will follow a whole group of volunteer young people who have been referred to the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), whether these young people and their families remain in contact with NHS services or not and no matter what path they choose. This will allow the researchers to compare and investigate outcomes for the entire cohort, including both those who go on to use physical interventions such as hormone blockers and those who do not. The findings generated from this research will enable services to provide better care for patients and their families.

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Young people and their families currently using the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) have been consulted regarding their priorities as the study was developed, to ensure that what we learn is most useful to the communities that we are supporting.

Dr Eilis Kennedy, Director of Research and Development at the Tavistock and Portman, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding from NIHR and to be working on this study with an outstanding team of researchers from University College London and the Universities of Liverpool and Cambridge. This will be one of the largest studies in the field to date and we very much hope it will generate important new knowledge of direct benefit to young people and their families.”

Dr Polly Carmichael, Director of GIDS, said: “We are delighted to support this study. While we know how children and young people are doing in our care, we have struggled in the absence of such research to understand how the care we provide affects them in the longer term and what choices they go on to make as they move into adulthood. This research, alongside other research that we are conducting, will add to the evidence base around the best ways to support young people with gender dysphoria. We welcome all rigorous research from across the health and care spheres and are excited about the insights that this study will bring.”