A transgender underwear designer has been accused of child abuse for selling pants that seek to ‘flatten’ the genitals of boys as young as four.
Doctors warned that the underwear, which is made to ‘flatten the side profile of the pelvic area’, could cause infertility.
A leading peer claimed the sale of the product amounted to a criminal offence.
The garments are sold by Carmen Liu, an eponymous company established by a transgender former ballet dancer that describes itself as ‘the UK’s first brand to design flattening and tucking underwear’.
The cotton briefs, which cost £35.70 for a pack of three, come in black or white and are decorated with pink, blue and blue satin bows.
They are available in seven sizes – the smallest for those with hips measuring between 58cm (23in) and 61cm, which would include children as young as four. The largest, at up to 97cm, would fit a teenager.
Under a dedicated ‘Kids’ section on its website, the company says: ‘Carmen Liu Kids is here for trans girls and non-binary children in their journey. We are the world’s first company (you heard!) to listen to the children that need us.
‘Each product is here to provide children with the stepping stones to finding themselves, in a supportive, validating experience.’
It adds: ‘We are here to provide gender expression products for trans girls and non-binary children in aim [sic] of finding their true, authentic self.’
But Tory peer Baroness Nicholson said: ‘I am truly horrified. The makers, sellers and distributors of these items are breaking the Children’s Act and are heavily abusing the NHS health criteria for children.
‘Children have an absolute unbreakable right to health and these wretched items are against that. I will report them and go to the wire to gain children their rights against this seemingly criminal behaviour.’
Doctors said putting sustained pressure on the genitals could cause permanent damage to young boys.
‘Testicles need to be at a lower temperature, a couple of degrees lower than the body,’ said consultant paediatrician Dr Shiban Ahmed.
‘That is why they are in the scrotum, outside of the body. At a young age, if they continue to remain in a high position, the cells that produce sperm eventually die off.’
He said that could destroy the chances of fatherhood for boys who later changed their minds about becoming female.
Stephanie Davies-Arai, of campaign group Transgender Trend, said: ‘The fact that a child is sexualised in this way and their sexual parts are treated according to adult ideas, is abuse of the child. It feels barbaric to actually interfere with a child’s genitals in that way.’
Last night, Carmen Liu said: ‘Your claims are absurd, unfounded and without merit.’ She said the criticism came ‘at a convenient time when legislation to ban conversion therapy to exclude transgender people is in the media and subject to wide outrage and protest.
‘This… is an attempt to cast contempt on the community at a time when support and understanding is needed most.’