Florence Ashley is a Canadian assistant law professor at the University of Alberta who specialises in trans issues including puberty blockers and ‘conversion therapy’.
Ashley, who uses they/them pronouns, was due to appear on a WHO guideline development group (GDG) on trans issues, but informed the organisation that they “would be unable to participate due to a conflict in schedules”.
The GDG, which includes lawyers, activists, and doctors, has been established by the WHO to develop “a guideline on the health of trans and gender diverse people” and aims to address the challenges that trans people face when accessing health services.
The WHO had previously been criticised for a lack of trained medical professionals in the CDG, only eight of whom are doctors.
Reem Alsalem, a human rights advocate and specialist advisor to the UN on violence against women and girls, said most committee members had “strong, one-sided views in favour of promoting hormonal gender transition”.
Alsalem said “not one” of the 21 group members “appears to represent a voice of caution for medicalising youth with gender dysphoria or the protection of female-only spaces”.
The WHO clarified they would not make recommendations for children due to “limited and variable” evidence on long-term results.