By Tilly Fitzmaurice
Dr Ruth Pearce, a trans researcher, trans healthcare expert and former member of the NHS England Gender Programme Board, has recently called for feminist researchers, practitioners and educators to show solidarity with young trans people in England. As an activist community with unconditional support for trans rights as a founding principle, we felt it was vital to step up and show vocal, practical support for young trans people.
Proposed NHS England interim guidelines for child and adolescent gender dysphoria services say that being trans is likely to be a phase, and include a proposal in which doctors could discourage or even prevent children from, for example, wearing the clothes or having the haircut they choose.
These proposals are based on prejudice, not on evidence, and they have been recently condemned in a strongly worded statement from a coalition of international professional bodies, which includes the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
We therefore ask that our members and supporters write to NHS England, or fill in their public consultation (which closes on December 4th!), to express their grave concern about these proposals. We also invite you to write to your local MP to convey these concerns, and to let them know that their constituents stand in solidarity with young trans people. These young people already suffer enough transphobic hostility from the press, certain public figures and in some cases, their own families and communities, without also being abused by the services that are meant to protect and support them. We need to show we have their backs.
Trans-inclusive organisations including Gendered Intelligence, a trans-led and trans-involving grassroots organisation, have made some guidance for participating in the public consultation, which is available here. Dr Pearce has published her letter to the NHS England Gender Programme Board here.