GIRES combines the expertise of a largely voluntary team of trans and non trans people, which provides a wide range of support for trans people and those who care for them, while ensuring that the charity is robustly governed. GIRES now has over 400 individual and corporate members, making annual subscriptions, one-off donations and payments for services.
Advice to policy makers
GIRES aims to ensure that legislation and practices meet the needs of trans people.
Particular focus has been on their entitlements under
- the Equality Act (2010)
- the Gender Recognition Act (2004)
- the Human Rights Act (1998)
- the Data Protection Act (1998)
- the Freedom of Information Act (2000)
Since the start of 2011, GIRES has attended 219 formal meetings and conferences. The charity has also responded to many government consultation papers.
The discussions have involved officials in
- Government Equalities Office (GEO)
- other sections of the Home Office
- Department of Health
- Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs
- Department for Communities and Local Government
- Department for Education
- Ministry of Justice and the Greater London Authority
- Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and other regulatory agencies
GIRES and other trans groups engaged in the consultation process, led by the GEO, that preceded publication of the Coalition Government’s LGB&T Action Plan in March 2011, followed by a specific Transgender Equality Action Plan in December 2011. GIRES contributes to the Royal College of Psychiatrists Standards of Care Committee and the Parliamentary Forum on Gender Identity.
Organisations advised on their transgender policies
- The Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee
- Surrey County Council
- Epsom and Ewell Borough Council
- General Medical Council
- Nursing and Midwifery Council
- Royal College of Nursing
- West London Mental Health Trust
- South West London & St George’s Mental HealthTrust
- Solicitors Regulation Authority
- Pearson plc
- The Football Association
- Rugby Football League
- The Lawn Tennis Association and Badminton England
Development of the Trans Community Statement of Need
GIRES facilitated the development of a community driven Statement of Need that fed into the two government Action Plans referred to above. This document now provides a basis for evaluating the advances made not only through government action but also through EHRC initiatives and tasks to be undertaken by the trans community on its own behalf. Importantly, it shows what further action is required.
For instance, the government’s, most welcome, first plan so far address only 46 of the 81 issues requiring government attention that the trans community has identified. For the EHRC and the community there remains long list of issues that have still to be addressed, e.g. in employment, discrimination, privacy, healthcare and research.
Support for Corporate Members
The charity now has 38 organisations as Corporate Members, which are involved in healthcare provision and regulation, education, the law, policing, local and central government, trades unionism, sport, financial services, publishing, television, information technology, aviation and transgender support.
GIRES offers each Corporate Member a flexible tailor made arrangement that specifies the package of services that the charity will deliver. The services and level of payment are reviewed and adjusted each year.
These services include: development of transgender policies, standards, guidance, equality schemes and equality analyses; document review; assessment of data gathering processes; training sessions for senior managers and staff; preparation of web-based e-learning resources on transgender issues; help in recruiting trans people; development of a trans healthcare scheme for employees; participation in diversity consultation groups; organisation of trans focus groups; responding properly to any complaint from a trans person; and supporting an individual’s transition at work
GIRES made its award for 2011 to the 34 members of the Standards of Care Revision Committee for the new (7th) edition of the Standards of Care published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). It has been clear for some time that respected clinical opinion was moving forward from the previous edition of the Standards, published in 2001.
GIRES welcomes the recognition, in these latest Standards, of how far best practice has evolved in the intervening years. The charity supports fully the statement in the Standards that ”transsexual, transgender and gender noncomforming individuals are not inherently disordered“ and is pleased to see acknowledgement of the very wide range of identities that are nonconforming.
To provide tangible support for the Standards, GIRES has worked with WPATH to establish an International Fund to cover the cost of translating them into other languages and, thanks to one of its own generous benefactors, made a grant of $20,000 into the new Fund. Further data from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs confirm the sustained growth rate (11% per annum) in the number of trans people seeking medical care that GIRES predicted in its 2009 report, funded by the Home Office.
A recent study by the EHRC indicates that 1.4% of all people describe themselves as having the legally protected gender reassignment characteristic, which is even higher than the 1% of all people that GIRES has hitherto estimated to be experiencing some degree of gender variance. Among gender variant youngsters, the number referred the largest UK’s treatment centre, at the Tavistock Clinic in London, is growing by 32% per annum.
The research, that GIRES partially funded, the University of Warwick to undertake among the service users at the Transhealth gender clinic in London is now beginning to produce valuable data. The prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders is 6.15%, compare to 0.5% in the general population.
The Future of Transgender Healthcare
This is a critical moment in the development of transgender healthcare. Human rights and equality law, coupled with the WPATH Standards of Care and the NHS emphasis on ”no decision about me, without me“, greatly reinforce the entitlements of transgender people in the UK to improved healthcare.
GIRES is joining with other trans stakeholders in pressing for these improvements to be introduced into the NHS arrangements for commissioning specialist mental health services and surgery, the Standards of Care to be published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Department of Health guide for clinicians and service users and the practices of the individual gender identity clinics.
Medical Care for Gender Variant Adolescents
Having worked since 2004 to change British practice, GIRES welcomed the announcement in May 2011 by the Tavistock Clinic that it had obtained ethical approval to follow the approach developed by their Dutch counterparts. This approach had already been adopted in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Norway and the USA. Two representatives of GIRES attended the Tavistock conference in March 2012, when its clinicians described the approach to an audience that included representatives from other countries that have not yet adopted it.
Support for Schools
The charity’s toolkit, which was also funded by the Home Office, is a highly valuable resource for schools to use in combating transphobic bullying. GIRES has supported a further nine schools with the transition of staff or pupils. GIRES has encouraged the Department for Education (DfE) to insert, within its advice for schools on combating bullying, a link to the resources that could be provided not only by GIRES but also by Gendered Intelligence, Mermaids and Schools Out. Already, the DoE provides a link to GIRES for schools seeking information on transgender equality.
Directory of Trans Support Services
TranzWiki is the GIRES directory of the national and local groups that support trans people (www.tranzwiki.net). During the past year, the number of groups listed has grown from 125 to 144. The directory also contains information about the 51 police services in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. There have been 894,142 views of this resource since it was established in 2010.
GIRES has conducted 70 training events, which include the workshops on transgender equality for professionals in further education, commissioned by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS). GIRES has also provided training for a wide range of organisations in health and social care, education, central and local government, the criminal justice system, regulatory agencies and the business community.
GIRES provided the content for the LSIS transgender equality e-learning system, which is designed for use in the further education sector. GIRES has also developed an e-learning system for local authorities, GIRES E-Learning Courses, some of which were funded by the Department for Communities and Local and Local Government.
Transphobic Crime Reporting
This system was funded by the Home Office. Although the number of reports so during the past two years (70) is quite low, in most cases they are not reported to the police. The reporting system will therefore supplement what can be learned from data held by the police. Meanwhile, GIRES will publish a summary of the results, which will highlight the extent of under reporting.
Thirty members of a trans man’s family attended a workshop in Ashtead. The charity also provides a workshop as part of its annual meeting of members.
LGBT Health (Cardiff), WPATH Symposium (Atlanta), Sparkle event (Manchester) and House of Lords (London)
GIRES produces a wide range of literature for trans people, their families and professionals, including a series of booklets published by the Department of Health. It has distributed 70,000 printed copies of its leaflet ”Transgender Experiences“. GIRES has published a new edition of its guidelines for employers, as well as a quick guide for public authorities on monitoring gender identity. The charity is also updating its toolkit for schools to use in combating transphobic bullying, to reflect the Equality Act 2010 and the resultant specific duties on public authorities.
GIRES handles a stream of daily requests for information from trans people and those who care for them, as well from the media.
In 2011, the charity’s website received 97,771 visits (61,996 previous year) with 242,663 (180,552) page views. During the year, the new material placed on the website included the e-learning resource for local authorities, guidance for all public authorities to use in monitoring gender identity, an updated version of the guide for employers and recordings of the presentations that two of the trustees delivered at the LGBT Health Summit.
Collaboration with Other Groups
GIRES collaborates with Mermaids, Beaumont Trust, The Gender Trust, a:gender, Transgender Resource and Education Centre, Gender Matters, Gendered Intelligence QwesT, Trans Media Watch, the LGBT Consortium, TransLondon, Spectrum London, Kairos in Soho, Galop, Schools Out and Stonewall. GIRES has joined with 11 other organizations to form the National LGB&T Partnership, funded by the Department of Health, which engages in the development of healthcare policy, practice and actions for the benefit of all LGB&T people in England.