- Whilst Britain has been among the countries that have gone furthest in recognising lesbian, gay and bisexual rights, our society is still failing this test in respect of trans people, despite welcome progress in recent years.
- The Government must look into the need to create a legal category for those people with a gender identity outside that which is binary and the full implications of this.
- Within the current Parliament, the Government must bring forward proposals to update the Gender Recognition Act, in line with the principles of gender self-declaration that have been developed in other jurisdictions.
- We recommend that provision should be made to allow 16- and 17-year-olds, with appropriate support, to apply for gender recognition, on the basis of self-declaration.
- We are very cautious about recommending gender recognition in respect of children aged under 16 (subject to parental consent or self-declaration on the basis of Gillick competence), and believe the Government should further consider the possible risks and benefits.
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission must be able to investigate complaints of discrimination raised by children and adolescents without the requirement to have their parents’ consent.
- We have found that the NHS is letting down trans people, with too much evidence of an approach that can be said to be discriminatory and in breach of the Equality Act.
- However, it is clear from our inquiry that trans people encounter significant problems in using general NHS services due to the attitude of some clinicians and other staff when providing care for trans patients. This is attributable to lack of knowledge and understanding—and even in some cases to out-and-out prejudice.
- GPs in particular too often lack an understanding of: trans identities; the diagnosis of gender dysphoria; referral pathways into Gender Identity Services; and their own role in prescribing hormone treatment.
- The NHS is failing in its legal duty under the Equality Act in this regard. There is a lack of Continuing Professional Development and training in this area amongst GPs. There is also a lack of clarity about referral pathways for Gender Identity Services. And the NHS as an employer and commissioner is failing to ensure zero tolerance of transphobic behaviour amongst staff and contractors.
- A root-and-branch review of this matter must be conducted, completed and published within the next six months.
- Consideration must be given to the transfer of these services to some other relevant area of clinical specialism, such as endocrinology (which deals with hormone related conditions), or their establishment as a distinct specialism in their own right [rather than a mental condition].
- The evidence is overwhelming that there are serious deficiencies in the quality and capacity of NHS Gender Identity Services. In particular, the waiting times that many patients experience prior to their first appointment (in clear breach of the legal obligation under the NHS Constitution to provide treatment within 18 weeks) and before surgery are completely unacceptable.
- The Ministry of Justice must ensure that it consults fully with the trans community in developing the Government’s new hate-crime action plan, so that the proposals are well-targeted and likely to be effective in increasing levels of reporting. This plan must include mandatory national transphobic hate-crime training for police officers and the promotion of third-party reporting.
- The Government must take the lead by ensuring public services have clear and appropriate policies regarding the recording of individuals’ names and genders. The requirement for trans people to produce a doctor’s letter in order to change the gender shown in their passport inappropriately medicalises what should be simply an administrative matter. This requirement must be dropped.
- The UK must follow Australia’s lead in introducing an option to record gender as “X” on a passport. If Australia is able to implement such a policy there is no reason why the UK cannot do the same.
- More needs to be done to ensure that gender-variant young people and their families get sufficient support at school.
- Trans issues (and gender issues generally) should be taught as part of Personal, Social and Health Education.
- A key theme running through this chapter has been lack of sufficient understanding of trans issues by professionals in the public sector, probably reflecting society’s lack of knowledge—and sometimes prejudice. We have already recommended that the Government bring forward a new strategy to tackle issues faced by trans people.
The main conclusions are listed below, and the full report is available for download at the end of this article.
What do you think? Has this gone far enough? Will the Government renege on what this Inquiry has demanded from them?
The Christian Concern group have said that they are concerned over the "worrying trend in primary school 'Transgenderism'". Moreover they say that the Mermaids group which has done some investigative work is...
a campaign group with a “harmful agenda”.
Firstly Christian Concern say in their article:
According to the former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, 70 to 80 per cent of children tracked at both Vanderbilt University and the London’s Portman Clinic, who had expressed transgender feelings, “spontaneously lost those feelings” over time.
How do you combine 'spontaneously' and 'over time'?
Which children within the cohort were tracked?
What confidence do you have over this data given such a small subset?
When we look at how children consider their gender at such a young age we can look at this quote from Boundless. “Development of Gender Identity.” Boundless Psychology. Boundless, 04 Jan. 2016. Retrieved 07 Jan. 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/psychology/textbooks/boundless-psychology-textbook/gender-and-sexuality-15/gender-414/development-of-gender-identity-297-12832/
Studies suggest that children develop gender identity in three distinct stages:
Gender is the state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones). It is defined by our brain and not what is between our legs. It is how we feel we should be - what our body is actually crying out it should be - hence gender dysphoria (now used in DSM-5). It is no longer defined as a 'disorder' Christian Concern as you state in your article but as dysphoria.
The Christian Concern article refers to children aged from 5-11 but focussed nearly entirely on one or 2 very specific 'quotes' by Mermaids
"We have got families of five-year-olds, six-year-olds,
There has to have been some context prior to that statement - it suggests 'treatment' but the reader is left to their thoughts what this 'treatment' actually refers to.
It is widely acknowledged by medical staff that giving of hormones does not start until after puberty. Some young transgender children may wish to 'express' themselves in the other gender during the primary school years. Again as the article initially suggests the figures are extraordinarily low given the total school population. Yet it is amazing that the Christian Concern feels that it merits such an attack on Mermaids.
Strangely the quote used against Mermaids could very well be focussed upon Christian Concern.
a campaign group with a “harmful agenda”.
The NHS within Lincolnshire were asked by the Lincolnshire Parents of LGBT Support Group whether our GPs were suitably equipped to deal with#transgender patients. They have since asked us to help sort out a plan to ask the GPs what they need etc.
Personally we only have anecdotal evidence and so are looking for anyone who might wish to provide information (anonymously) or even attend the Lincoln based NHS headquarters meeting (date TBD) to provide such information.
What do people think?
Horrified by some of the comments on articles about the suggestion to withdraw gender from the passports of the UK in the future. (article from BBC is here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35214487_)
Stupid. It will just make identity fraud easier than it already is
Why not just put transgender on these documents
If trans people say men are born in womens bodies and vise versa then that would imply gay people do not exist. So transphobia trumps homophobia.
You might have to read the comments above to see exactly what these people are trying to say...
What people appear to be missing by a mile is the trauma faced by transgender individuals. Many people seem to consider that the transition is simply flicking a switch: one day a man, the next a woman. That oversimplifies, with a huge error as well, the whole concept.
If someone is assigned male at birth, that may set their gender as male on the birth certificate. However, in these enlightened times, we now understand gender is far more than just what exists between the legs. It is that understanding of your gender as focussed in the brain. Hence when, in a very small proportion of people, someone believes that their gender does not match what is 'between their legs' it isn't just being nice, or PC, but basic common sense and compassionate that we give these people the respect we all deserve.
When transgender people express themselves in the gender they believe that they are - not their preferred gender as we believe that this is not a choice but their natural gender - their certification, whether that be their birth certificate, driving licence or passport will not correlate with their assigned gender at birth. For this to occur they would require to undergo gender reassignment surgery and obtain a Gender Reassignment Certificate. This takes an ordinate amount of time (years) and money.
The removal of the gender label in the passport would remove that awful time when the member of staff at passport control says:
Good day Sir, your passport please......oh Sorry Madam
To those people who feel that the comments above are appropriate (obtained from the Daily Mail) then please only make them when you have walked a mile in their shoes.
We often consider the title of a song which has means so much to us: "this would not be the road I would choose for me". Who would choose to struggle intensely with the idea that your child has 'come out', to be unable to understand what this means, unable to comprehend the terminology? Many of the parents who have come to us this year simply say that they are in meltdown, unable to know which way to turn, what to do next.
Of course it's far worse for our children. They have been mulling this over for months, possibly years. How could they say what they are feeling? They expect rejection - although statistics are difficult to substantiate this, anecdotally it is fairly common - see Albert Kennedy Trust. People's reactions are to distance themselves initially, mainly because of a lack of understanding. Why? Society repeatedly fails to really grasp what it is like for the LGBT community to live, to work, in our society of today. Yes we hear and read of the celebrities who apparently flourish but what is it like to walk down the road as a trans female and get abuse directed at you, because you are 'being yourself'? But thankfully people are still 'coming out' and being just that - themselves.
Just like @PFLAG, @OfficialFFLAG and @newroadparents we want to be there for parents, to help them gain an understanding of the language, to remain in contact with their children and support them as their journey unfolds. We want to enable them to rebuild their lives with their families.
We have seen a number of parents come forward this year seeking support - the vast majority of them with transgender children. Is this because this causes the greatest complexities for parents?, the varying hormonal changes experienced due to the medication and the excessively long wait times to gain acceptance on the NHS 'ladder' are a real cause for concern.
The parents say that they are pleased that they are not alone. In this day of mass social media this may come as a surprise. 'We are always connected'. We may be connected but maybe not supported.
We initially strive to welcome everyone who contacts us through this website. We hope to meet up face to face so that we can:
Lastly we meet up as a group to just be together - again social media is one thing but the face to face chats over lovely cake and coffee is something else!!
We have had some great support from @lisajonesdesign, a local artist who has provided us with so much support. These A5 sheets have been so helpful to describe what we do.
We have had the opportunity to speak at FFLAG's conference in Manchester during April, attended London's Pride March in June, held a workshop at the Street Angels national conference in Warrington in October, and supported the #InterFaith week session at the LGBT Foundation, hosted by Andrew Gilliver, in November. None of this was ever contemplated nor expected. All we seek to do is to help parents when their child comes out.
So that's us. A year on from when we started. Many parents now contact us and we are delighted that they are so supportive of each other. We have parents from Yorkshire as well as Lincolnshire with us. We have even had emails from the Bronx in New York seeking help (which we were to pinpoint their location and signpost them to the nearest PFLAG centre). Our Twitter feed is blessed with many so supportive people who show so much love.
May we thank you for supporting us this past year and wish you a very happy New Year and let's hope, pray and work for even more breakthrough's for the LGBTQ+ community in 2016.
Bob & Mandy
Nine parents met up at Uncle Henry's Cafe, on the A15 north of Lincoln, during the afternoon of Sunday 6th December. We had travelled from as far north as York (sorry that's now been seconded into Lincolnshire for a while) and as far south as Sleaford. Across our great county it was good to speak with many parents who had also travelled this life journey with their LGT children.
One aspect noted was that it was great to know that we were not alone.
The Farm cafe at Uncle Henry's put on a spread of wonderful gateaux and unlimited tea and coffee for us in the coffee lounge (booked just for us by the wonderful Emma) so we could discuss our specific journeys in confidence. The staff at Uncle Henry's were magnificent: welcoming and so supportive.
We'd like to thank Just Lincolnshire who sponsored the refreshments and who also have been so supportive to fostering such conversations, helping parents of LGBT children. One parent said that they had been helped so much because they could talk about the situation between themselves and their child.
It is important that we can talk about our circumstances, and be listened to. Social Media has its uses but active listening is different and so beneficial.
The group would like to meet up again and there's consideration for a trans youth group in the future.
Is this something you might like to join? If you are a parents of a LGBTQ child and would value support on your journey please do not hesitate to get into contact with us at lincsparentslgbt.org.uk.
It's just the start!
The LGBT Foundation have very kindly provided their full presentation from the session mentioned on the blog post below. It is really informative so please check it out!
The Rev Graham Sawyer, the Vicar from the Diocese of Blackburn, gave an illuminating introduction on how society may infer that tolerance was merely prejudice with a smile. He wondered whether people just wanted to be loved and accepted. He also felt that society had a preoccupation with pelvic issues.
Andrew Gilliver, the wonderful host from the LGBT Foundation and a full time professional homosexual (his words not ours :-) ) said that often the people of faith, when confronted with the issue of LGBT, would withdraw into solitude, not wishing to confront in case they offend. However, Andrew suggested that organisations should rather deal with the offence felt and address the issue of LGBT. The LGBT Foundation had written to 60 or more people of faith inviting them to this event, but the response had been lacking – are they afraid of what they may find?
He also highlighted this source of recent statistics: http://www.youthchances.org/ which gives the issues faced by young LGBT individuals in our country today - well worth a read.
Manchester Pride have an interfaith group now and wish to introduce it into the Pride event next year, just as we saw in London last June.
The first of the external speakers was Rev Hayley Matthews, the Rector of Holy Innocents, Fallowfield and Trustee of the LGBT Foundation. She gave an illuminating talk on hospitality and how those in faith groups need to welcome all into their places of worship. The welcome needs to be inclusive but not invasive. What people do or whether they have a husband can be problem for LGBT individuals: the questioner needs to show respect.
In terms of those people ‘coming out’: in a recent survey: 6.3% were fully out; 0.5% had come out to their Boss; 45.6% had come out to a few people; and the remainder, 47.6% were not out. The question why has to be asked.
Here's Graham Sawyer Hayley Matthews and Kieran Bohan
Kieran Bohan, from St Bride’s and representing Liverpool’s Spectrum of Spirituality, gave a wonderful quote:
Unconditional love =
This was extracted from person-centred counselling but fitted wonderfully how those in faith contexts should love and value others.
We then heard a talk from a worker at the LGBT Foundation, gave a deeply personal account of how a Muslim may feel when confronted whether to come out as gay or not. He described his roller coaster journey moving through suicide, self-harm, deep utter isolation, desolation, suffering verbal and physical abuse before coming out and finding employment with the LGBT Foundation. You wonder how anyone could ask the question: so is this a lifestyle choice when people go through such trauma. He also mentioned how hard it is to speak with his parents about his feelings, how this is currently (and may remain so for some time to come) nigh on impossible to broach. We haven't included his name as he has yet to speak openly with his parents and we don't wish to hinder that by naming him here. But we do praise him.
Tara Hewitt, an Equality & Diversity Advisor in one of the NHS Foundation Trusts, and also a past Pink List member, gave again a personal talk on how she had battled with her faith on her journey finding acceptance as a transgender woman. The Roman Catholic church had caused problems with confidentiality but the faith she has has been a rock and support for her. Her velvet blanket of love will always now be an image of the love of God!
And we gave a talk on how LGBT Lincs was set up and how it undertakes its role. We discussed the Clobber Verses and how the interpretation of those verses can cause such trauma when Jesus said ‘Love Another as I have loved You’. It’s so simple a statement to follow really.
We hope that such events will become a standard across the country but with a greater attendance from more of the clergy of all faiths, whether they be affirming or not. We have to talk and show His love.
Clink on the link below to download our presentation.
Many in the nation may not understand the significance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Following Armistice Day last week when we remembered those who had given their life in battle, in conflict, and also to recall that these were 'the wars to end all wars'. The nation went into grief, for the day, adorned with poppies, politicians spoke with gravitas about the loss of so many.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on, or around, November 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.
What violence? It's not as we have seen last week 'in a battle' but in everyday contexts: individuals not understanding the individual, perceiving them as 'not normal', and taking revenge for possibly their frustration. That's no excuse. It's possibly ignorance, a lack of understanding and tolerance to others.
This website highlights those who have died this year. Please look at it.
No, please, stop a while.
Ponder on the names, #SayTheName (this link will highlight #Trans deaths on Twitter), and ask yourselves how society can do this to people who just want to live their lives as everyone else does.
Some would take their own life. There's no easy way to discuss this and the statistics show that the probability of a #trans individual taking their life is 10 times greater than the population (LGB youth 3 times) - that's more than shocking. Further information on #transgender suicide is available here.
Manchester's Sackville Gardens (highlighted centrally below) is the location of one of the largest TDOR events in the UK and will occur on Sunday 22nd November.
May this year be a time of reflection, sadness
Across the UK TDOR events are located on this map.
Click on the map for an interactive version.
Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 19:30 (7:30PM)
Centenary Building, City University, London, EC1V 0HB
Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 19:30 (7:30PM)
Station Hotel, Bruton Way, Gloucester, GL1 1DG, UK
Sunday, November 22th, 2015 14:00 (2:00PM)
Dorset Gardens Methodist Church, Dorset Gardens, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 1RL
Friday, November 20th, 2015 19:00 (7:00PM)
Leeds University Union Lifton Place Leeds LS2 9JZ
Sunday, November 15th, 2015 18:30 (6:30PM)
St. Bride’s Church, Percy St, Liverpool L8 7LT, United Kingdom
Thursday, November 19th, 2015 19:00 (7:00PM)
Orford Jubilee Neighbourhood Hub, Jubilee Way, Orford, Warrington, Cheshire WA2 8HE, United Kingdom
Honoured to be added to the Transgender Allies page of @tgfact. One of many people they have noted as willing to help if possible.
It's an area where often there's little to find on the issue but this resume helps to answer many questions relating to non-binary and genderqueer.
Thanks to Meg John Barker for this information @megjohnbarker
Across the UK and in some areas of Spain, Street Angels offer their support to all those out 'on the town' having a good time. They have initiatives at 130 different locations. Their role is to help, care, listen and love to all those they meet.
So what were we doing there?
The Street Angels meet with many of the LGBT community. Some Biblical views are very 'anti-gay' and we wanted to provide some background and evidence to highlight that the Bible can be interpreted as showing love towards all people including the LGBT community. We also wanted to discuss 'Love the sinner and Hate the sin' argument.
So we set up our stall with Christian LGBT literature (kindly donated by the Unicorn Bookshop in Lincoln - thanks Melanie!!.
On the Saturday we provided an hour's workshop on 'Interacting with the LGBT Community' - we were brilliantly supported by Jessica White from the Village Angels, a group of volunteers who operate in Manchester's Gay Village on a Friday & Saturday night. Our aim was to provide information on why LGBT people hadn't made a lifestyle choice but were born LGB or T. We wanted to people to ask Transgender folk which pronouns they wanted to use, not to ask about surgery and to care for all. We discussed the difference between Gender, Expression and Sexuality: how there was a spectrum and not just binary solutions to these questions.
We provided Biblical responses to the 6 Clobber verses typically 'thrown' at the LGBT community. WE offered signposts to Stonewall, Gires, Mermaids and the LGBT Foundation if these groups needed more information on LGBT issues.
CNI kindly have added our presentation to their website (this includes the PowerPoint presentation in pps format). If you want to download the full PowerPoint presentation including all the videos please contact us direct on firstname.lastname@example.org. The file is 330MB in size. You could use this version which is in PDF.
We are now asking them to ensure that each Street Angel initiative has the Stop Hate cards or at least the information to provide to the LGBT community they meet, so we can jointly tackle homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.
With the stall set up, the boards displayed, the Rainbow coloured jelly beans ready to be eaten, it was great to hear Christians interested in the #LGBTQ scene.
We have had people from Tenerife asking about their conversations with those who are gay; parents concerned about their #LGBTQ children but never had that opportunity to chat & share; and those who need to just get acquainted with the subject.
Recently we've had people say that they didn't need to discuss #LGBTQ because their opinion was set years ago. That's a great shame. As more people come out, more and more of us know #LGBTQ people, we need to engage and understand.
Thirty years ago many wouldn't even discuss LGBT now we all seem to know at least one family member or friend who is LGBT.
If people need to discuss or chat about #LGBTQ issues please go to their local #LGBT Foundation or Centre, contact Stonewall, Gires, Mermaids, PFLAG or in the UK FFLAG or even us.
A new report released by the Albert Kennedy Trust has revealed that 24% of the homeless today in UK could identify as #LGBTQ. When the Office for National Statistics indicate that between 3-7% of the population identify as #LGBTQ that's horrific.
The article from Gay Times provides more information : https://www.gaytimes.co.uk/news/13377/24-young-homeless-people-identify-lgbt/
We were one of the 38 exhibitors at the Churches Together in Lincolnshire's EQUIP Expo at the Lincolnshire Showground on Saturday 3rd October. This was our opportunity to highlight what we do to support parents who have children who identify as LGBT, but also give church-folk an opportunity to discuss LGBT issues.
We weren't disappointed.
We had material from FFLAG, Inclusive Church, Diverse Church, the Methodist LGBT initiative, Outcome and many books provided by the Unicorn Bookshop in Lincoln.
Many people came to us, throughout the day, and asked questions and then poured out their heart about LGBT issues which had affected them.
This is an issue which affects the Church
One person said that Same Sex Marriage didn't need to be discussed (because it was not relevant ~ didn't agree with it at all) and another said that, from information gained for certain TV programmes (from the US), they had inferred that the solution was to 'pray the gay away'. We were not there to judge but to allow discussion. They still discussed LGBT which was good even we didn't agree with their conclusion.
A number of people sought advice and support for their own particular family with LGBT children: you hope that the Church is providing that support now.
All other visitors to the stall were very affirming and this is a message that the Church needs to hear
The Methodist Church are soon to have meetings across Lincolnshire which will initially discuss Same Sex Marriage and then LGBT issues but no firm dates have yet been confirmed. It would appear that many people had read 'Walking with Gay Friends' by Alex Tylee (our review is here http://lincsparentslgbt.weebly.com/recommended-books.html) which we thought was very 'fundamentalist in nature'. We suggested that people read 'around the subject' possibly Torn by Justin Lee or God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines or the Complete Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality (also available at local bookshops).
Even with smaller than anticipated attendees to the Expo, the proportion of people who stopped at the stall, engaged with what we do, in such a positive manner, and that so many people felt that they were content to discuss family-related LGBT issues, strongly suggest that the Church is more open than many would consider. The Church is willing to enter into dialogue and willingly discuss.
The time has come to really open up the debate.
Our thoughts which capture some of the news and comments about LGBT issues