Kids on the Edge: The Gender Clinic

Our children are struggling to know how to live in today’s world. Unprecedented numbers are being diagnosed with mental health disorders, medicated, or are facing a crisis of identity. For nearly a hundred years the Tavistock and Portman has been at the forefront of exploring young minds.  This series, with exclusive access to the Trust, goes behind the doors at the Tavistock for the first time. 

Kids on the edge – Ash on a car

It's the first question that's asked, before we're even born, "is it a boy or girl?", but for an increasing number of children the answer isn't straightforward. The first film in this series, directed by BAFTA-award winning Peter Beard (My Son The Jihadi), follows two families who attend the Tavistock’s Gender Identity Development Service, through life changing decisions.

The Tavistock’s gender service is the country’s only NHS-run gender clinic for children and young people with gender dysphoria – a profound distress caused by feeling they’ve been born into the wrong body. With transgender issues and stories rarely out of the news, the gender specialists have seen a 100% rise in referrals, but still understand very little about why children feel this way. Led by Consultant Psychologist Dr Polly Carmichael, the gender team have to decide whether or not to prescribe controversial drugs to children and teens.  

Ash and Matt are two of the children who regularly visit the gender clinic. Ash, who is 8 years old and lives as a girl, has just moved to a new primary school, where no-one knows she was born a boy. She doesn’t want to tell her new friends her secret in case she is bullied again. Matt doesn't want to talk about his gender, or the fact that he was born a girl - this is not helped by his diagnosis of autism and his problems with communicating. He just wants people to accept him.

While mum Rachel must grapple with losing her daughter, she must also give consent to give 11 year old Matt hormone blocking drugs to stop him becoming a woman.

Watch the episode on All 4 »

kids on the edge sidebar image
How Matt and Ash feel about taking part

Watch the video Read the transcript The Gender Clinic Century Films: What was it like being filmed? Ash: I would explain it as a ten out of ten...

The service director's view – Dr Polly Carmichael on 'The Gender Clinic'

I was recently reminded that it was nearly five years ago that Liesel from Century Films first approached the Gender Identity Development Service...

The producer’s view – Emily Turner on 'The Gender Clinic'

I first met Dr. Polly Carmichael at the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) a few weeks after Caitlin Jenner’s “coming out” photo shoot for...

Kids on the Edge

Return to the landing page

Share this page