Frequently Asked Questions

“The Government believes that transgender adults should be free to live their lives as they wish, with dignity and free from discrimination.” It appears that the Government believes trans people are a useful hate-group, to divert attention from their disastrous mismanagement of Covid, Brexit and the economy. That’s what the Sunday Times article indicates. When the first sentence after “Thank you for your correspondence” bears no relation to the facts indicated by Government statements, I feel queasy unreality and my fear is heightened, not damped down. Some of the answers are slightly reassuring.

“We are currently dealing with an extremely high volume of enquiries about the Gender Recognition Act, the single-sex exemptions under the 2010 Equality Act and about healthcare for transgender people.” Well, that’s what happens when the minister makes a statement indicating she will trample on trans rights- trans people, allies and phobes start writing.

“Changes are intended to make the process of applying for a gender recognition certificate (GRC) less bureaucratic.” The Scottish government proposed granting one on affirming a statutory declaration before a solicitor or JP. That would be considerably less bureaucratic. Not having to provide evidence of using your real name for two years would be a start. Not having to provide medical evidence would be an indication that the government realised no-one does this on a whim, and no-one would do it to attack women. They want to ensure applying is still “a serious and meaningful undertaking”- well, the Scottish proposals achieve that.

Is the Sunday Times correct? They’re not telling. “We intend to publish our response to the consultation before Summer Recess, which begins on 21 July 2020.”

On the Equality Act 2010, they write, “Exceptions in the Act also allow for the exclusion of transgender people from single-sex facilities where this is necessary and proportionate… We are looking into how we might provide greater clarity in this area as part of Government’s response to the Gender Recognition Act consultation.” “Greater clarity” might mean that excluders felt more able to exclude trans women.

This Government is committed to improving services for those undergoing gender reassignment and to challenging transphobia in the NHS. NHS England have funded the development of specialised training through the Royal College of Physicians’ accredited credential on trans health.

There are not enough specialist psychiatrists, so the waiting lists are huge and growing. They say the NHS is working to make trans care more local, and “establishing a more modern and flexible care model”.

What did Truss mean when she said, “I think it’s very important that while people are still developing their decision-making capabilities that we protect them from making those irreversible decisions”? The FAQ is placatory. “We are clear that protecting young people is about ensuring the appropriate processes are in place, rather than withholding support, and we will be exploring what this means with the Department for Health and Social care who lead in this area. We are absolutely committed to making sure all young people have access to appropriate and timely psychological and medical support. The wellbeing of all young people is our priority.” Truss in her statement gave credence to the paranoid myth that young people need “protected” from doctors. She should make a public statement if she does not believe that myth, not rely on this FAQ.

“We know that transgender young people are more likely to experience poor mental health than people who are not transgender. The wellbeing of all young people is our primary concern. We are taking action to improve mental healthcare for LGBT people and we are working with DHSC to develop plans for reducing suicides amongst the LGBT population.” One quick and simple way would be to stop “Government sources” and ministers from making statements indicating a crackdown on trans women in women’s spaces.

“Will the Minister for Women and Equalities speak to both transgender health experts and children’s rights experts before making any decisions around access to healthcare? Yes…” Well, that is the minimum required by administrative law- decisions must be based on adequate knowledge and consideration of relevant facts. That does not mean that Truss will not consult her own prejudices and the benefits to an incompetent right-wing government of establishing out-groups to hate. “Clinicians should continue to provide support to people accessing Gender Identity Clinics [for adults] and the Gender Identity Development Service [for under 18s] in the same way as they have done till now – based on clinical need.” That they have to state doctors will continue to provide treatment indicates how toxic the government’s shit-stirring has been.

The FAQ does not reassure me at all.

6 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Me neither, Clare, though l guess it shows they’re somewhat spooked by our response to Lynne Truss initial statement. Mermaids parents have started a Gov.uk petition, which the site says they are ‘checking’ before it can be published, though we’re not sure what for.. If for its capacity to embarrass the government it may never see the light of day!!

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