Trans Community Statement of Need

Document: Trans Community Statement of Need (PDF, 1MB).

The version dated 26th April is currently available.

Executive Summary

This Statement of Needs for the Trans Community covers a multitude of areas, and is driven by the basic rights of trans people to participate fully in public and private life, without having to face prejudice or discrimination. Topics are grouped under several main headings for convenience, but there are some overlaps and probably some omissions. This summary gives a flavour of the issues raised.

There is significant concern that provision within each area must be made for those outside the gender binary, who may identify as third gender, as non-gendered or as bi- or poly-gendered.

In employment situations, steps must be taken to reduce the risk of discrimination and abuse, both in workplace and also in recruitment. This will require educating employers in their duties and trans people in their rights. There is a case for encouraging publicly prominent trans people.

Education (covering primarily schools and colleges) has similar issues in terms of training teaching staff in their duties as well as supporting trans people (both pupils and staff). Ofsted has a particular role here, enforcing minimum standards. The National Curriculum should be enhanced to cover trans issues, especially as many trans people become aware of their nature while in primary school.

Existing legislation (primarily the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010) needs to be clarified and revised, as there are several human rights issues that still need to be addressed. Gender recognition should be independent of any relationship (marriage or civil partnership) context. Consideration also should be given to gender recognition for under 18s, as well as how to address gender recognition for those outside the gender binary. Issues about pension provision for both trans people and their partners still remain. Additionally privacy law needs to be enforced, particularly with regard to media intrusion, but also by inadvertent ‘outing’ by other institutions.

There is real fear about pressures on NHS funding leading to the illegal withdrawal of health services to assist in the treatment of gender dysphoria. Additionally such treatment needs to be brought into standard NHS protocols, such as choice of provider, increasing treatment options and local support, as well as complying with existing equalities legislation and international best practice. This will require training of medical staff, such as GPs, as well as recognition that the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach often seen needs to change.

Families of trans people also often need support. Law enforcement services (including the police and the courts) require training in the nature and extent of transphobic crime which is often under-reported.

Support and funding needs to be given to community groups, to encourage greater and better communication with government, better support for trans people and those associated with them, and to increase the voice of groups seldom heard from (such as non-transitioners, female-to-male and those from different ethnic groups). The needs of trans people are similar to but often different from those in the LGB communities, and specialist trans groups need to be made more capable in order to engage in delivery of training and services. Moreover, LGB groups that also support trans people, should be properly equipped to do so.

Government also needs to think more widely, in terms of both who and how it consults. There needs to be some accountability to the trans community so that proposals and progress can be assessed.

The trans community urges Government to incorporate into its promised transgender equality action plan a series of realistic projects, with tangible outcomes, as identified in this Statement of Need. Often, this will require substantial effort by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to clarify, explain, enforce and strengthen existing legislation. In addition, the community accepts that some of these actions will be its own responsibility and will move those forward through a collaborative process that fully involves its constituent groups and individuals.

Lynne Featherstone MP, the Minister of State for Equality, made a holding statement to the House on 16 December:

“In June 2010 we announced our commitment to publish the first ever Government action plan on transgender equality by the end of 2011. Work to develop the action plan is progressing. Our firm commitment is to work with transgender groups to develop the action plan. As part of this, to date the Government Equalities Office has held two informal workshops involving invited members of the transgender community to seek their views on what action is needed to tackle the inequalities they experience. I attended the workshop which took place on 6 December 2010. Our engagement with the transgender community will continue throughout 2011 as we continue to develop the action plan.”

As a result of the Minister’s statement, the output of the 6 December workshop was formatted as a basis for formal review/expansion by the community. Encouraged by the Government Equalities Office, a further workshop was conducted at the AGM of the LGBT Consortium held at Leeds, 22 January 2011. The Statement of Need given here is the output of that workshop and is being given wide distribution in the trans community and its supporters, prior to the next stage.
What is this page for?

This page is assisting in reaching those in the UK trans community and its supporters to bring to their attention both the existence of this excellent government initiative and to enable them to participate. Government will work the trans community to develop its action plan, based on the Statment of Need, during 2011 and the key objective is to ensure that all the issues are captured (the ‘what’) so that the solutions (the ‘when how and by whom’) can then be determined.

Inputs from all elements of the community are encouraged. Those assisting in compiling the Statement of Need should not be assumed to be knowledgeable on the issues faced by all trans folk (for example problems encountered by trans people of a certain ethnicity etc).

How will this information be used?

Throughout the evolution of this Statement of Need, a special effort has been made to engage fully the widest range of groups in its development. The LGBT Consortium kindly hosted a further workshop in London,on Thursday 24 March 2011, attended by representatives of the GEO.

All proposed amendments / additions resulting from that consultation, as well as others received up to 26 April, have been included in the updated version of the document.

Ministers’ intent was that Government engages actively with the sector to ensure the trans community has the opportunity to shape government work on transgender issues, including in the development of the government’s Transgender Equality Action Plan. The GEO and the community can work together to ensure that the Action Plan, as far as possible, meets the stated Needs of the community. The aim is to continue doing this as a community, with no single group leading.


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