Activists and protesters with the National Center for Transgender Equality rally in front of the White House. Picture: AP

London - She made a name for herself writing books for youngsters that tackle issues as broad as child neglect, divorce and mental illness.

Now Dame Jacqueline Wilson has decided to weigh in on one of the most controversial debates of the day.

The 73-year-old said she feels "very, very worried" for children who are about to undergo gender reassignment surgery. She believes they should not be allowed to go through hormone therapy until they are "utterly mature".

She said: "Some people, right from the time that they are toddlers, are aware that something is wrong and they wish that they could be the other sex.

"But I’m also aware that some children feel strongly for a while and then they change their minds." She added: "I think it’s a decision that has to be left a while until you are... certain you know all the actual consequences.

"Where I would be very, very worried is young children taking any kind of drug, hormones or whatever, the long-term effects of which we don’t know."

Dame Jacqueline said, for young children, it’s not "a question of just having your bits lopped off", it is a "serious, difficult surgery" which can have "devastating consequences".

She said that in an ideal world gender reassingment surgery would not even be necessary and that everyone would be able to "act exactly the way they want to but not try to change themselves physically".

Daily Mail