Posts By: Jane Hamlin

Conference: Priorities for Addressing Women’s Health Concerns and Delivering on the Women’s Health Strategy

The Westminster Health Forum is hosting this conference online on the morning of Wednesday 28th September 2022. A fascinating programme is planned.

Draft agenda subject to change

8.30 Registration

9.00 Chair’s opening remarks Senior Parliamentarian

9.05 Priorities for delivering on ambitions set out in the Vision for the Women’s Health Strategy Senior representative, policy

Questions and comments from the floor 9.30 Break

9.35 Service development and delivery – improving diagnosis and referrals for women with major health conditions, joining up services and overcoming variations in delivery, and addressing inequalities in accessibility to services
Dr Clare Stephens, Clinical Co-director, North Central London Cancer Alliance; and GP Partner, The Speedwell Practice
Dr Nicola Weaver, General Practitioner and Macmillan GP Clinical Cancer Lead for Southwark, NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group

Dr Holly Essex, Research Fellow, Health Services and Policy Research Group, University of York Louise Buchanan, Consultant Cardiologist, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust Questions and comments from the floor

10.20 Priorities for supporting women’s sexual and reproductive health across the life cycle Dr Edward Morris, President, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

10.30 Achieving effective reproductive healthcare for women of all ages – holistic and accessible local services, patient-centred care delivery, faster diagnosis and access to treatments, and informative resources
Haitham Hamoda, President, British Menopause Society
Dr Anita Sharma, GP with Special Interest in Women’s Health, South Chadderton Health Centre

Senior representative, fertility Senior representative, screening

10.50 Questions and comments from the floor

11.10 Chair’s closing remarks Senior Parliamentarian

11.15 Break

11.25 Chair’s opening remarks Senior Parliamentarian

11.30 Priorities for addressing stigma, improving first points of contact within primary care, and developing workforce education around women-specific health issues
Dr Anne Connolly, Chair, Primary Care Women’s Health Forum; and GP, Bevan Healthcare
Senior representative, education

11.40 Building an inclusive and responsive healthcare environment for all women’s health concerns and tackling disparities in women’s health outcomes

Jay Breslaw, Chief Executive Officer, Survivor’s Network Dr Jane Hamlin, President, Beaumont Society
Senior representative, mental health
Senior representative, ethnic minority health

12.00 Questions and comments from the floor

12.25 Break

12.30 Next steps for women’s health research – opportunities for improving data and the evidence base Senior representative, research
Questions and comments from the floor

12.55 Chair’s and Westminster Health Forum closing remarks Senior Parliamentarian

For more information: https://www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/agenda/Womens-Health-22-agenda.pdfpage1image2712160800 page1image2712161088page1image2712161376page1image2712161728 page1image2712162016page1image2712162432 page1image2712162720page1image2712163136 page1image2712163424 page1image2712163936 page1image2712164224page1image2712164512 page1image2712164800

Britons and Gender Identity – New report

Based on polling of more than 5,000 people and 20 focus groups, a new report finds that the divisive debate playing out in Westminster and social media is out of sync with the public’s approach to the issue – with only 2 percent thinking ‘the debate about transgender people’ is one of the most important issues facing the country.

Instead of angry debates and Twitter pile ons, the public want a ‘live and let live’ approach to trans people and case-by-case solutions not blanket policies. Most are aware of the issues involved, a quarter know someone who is transgender, and for most the starting points are compassion and common sense. More agree (46%) than disagree (32%) that a trans man is a man and a trans woman is a woman.  You can read the full report here: britons-and-gender-identity-navigating-common-ground-and-division-june-2022

 

Being trans does not need to be cured – transphobia does!

On Thursday 31st March – International Day of Trans Visibility, of all days – the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom announced that the government’s plans for  the long-awaited ban on “conversion therapies” for LGBT+ people were to be scrapped. After an outcry from MPs and members of the public, there was a partial U-turn that left trans people unprotected. Conversion therapies are any interventions that that try to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity through, for example, pseudo-scientific counselling sessions, prayers and exorcisms. Whatever the practitioners and supporters of these activities call it, it is abuse! It should have been made illegal in this and every country many years ago.

We know that some anti-trans groups have been spreading fear and misinformation for years. They express false concern that if these hideous practices were to be made illegal the medical profession would be prevented from working with their trans clients. According to The Guardian (02.04.22, p7) “Nikki da Costa, a former director of legislative affairs at No 10, told the BBC that a ban would have ‘profound consequences for children struggling with gender dysphoria. It would create a situation where doctors, therapists, even parents would be deterred from exploring with a child any feelings of what else may be going on for fear of being told they’re trying to change a child’s identity. And that is deeply concerning.'”

This is total nonsense. What the law would have banned is any practice that only has one outcome, for example telling someone that they must be cis-gendered. Why are trans people being left unprotected? We need parliament to act to ban the odious and cruel practices that leave too many trans people scarred for life. It is hard being trans. No-one chooses to be trans. It is how we are born. It is who we are. When will those in power understand and respect that?

Congratulations to Jamie Wallis MP for coming out as trans

Being trans is not a choice! One is born trans and so the only choice is whether to suppress the fact that one is trans and risk mental health issues that might result, or come out to family and friends and risk rejection and/or ridicule and humiliation. This does happen, though not as often as trans people fear. Jamie Wallis MP, who announced in a statement on the eve of Trans Day of Visibility that he had been diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria, had been blackmailed by someone who had discovered that he was trans.

 

This is the reality that too many trans people face. We hope that Jamie Wallis’s story will give others the confidence to be their real selves, but of course, his dreadful experiences may lead to some trans people trying to hide even deeper. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to be ourselves in our everyday lives should be visible to others and demonstrate that trans people are just ordinary people trying to live their lives in peace and harmony with everyone else.

 

Meanwhile, we congratulate Jamie Wallis on his decision and hope that he will work to raise awareness and understanding of the challenges and issues that trans people face amongst his colleagues in Parliament.

Rights watchdog (EHRC) should lose its status

The so-called Equality and Human Rights Commission which is supposed to look after the rights of people has been taken over by a group of people with transphobic views. Stonewall, backed by the Good Law Project, has drawn up a submission to the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, calling for the EHRC to lose its “A rating”. The Beaumont Society also supports this action.

You can read the story here:https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-60331962

 

Not everyone is born male or female

Here is an article by Carl Streed Jr and Frances Grimstad that appeared in The Independent on Tuesday 8th February 2022. One is a professor of medicine and the other is a professor of gynaecology. Their research and clinical experience show that sex designation is not something to take for granted. For those who don’t fit neatly into one of two categories –  and there are millions – an inappropriate classification on a birth certificate can have consequences that last a lifetime.

You can read the article here: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/transgender-male-female-sex-designation-doctors-b2010636.html

Gender recognition process urgently in need of reform, say MPs

A new report on the reform of the Gender Recognition Act was published on 21st December

The Beaumont Society welcomes a new report produced by the Women & Equalities Select Committee of the House of Commons. The Society’s President Dr Jane Hamlin was one of the witnesses called to be questioned by the Committee.

Despite taking two years to do so, the Government has failed to adequately respond to its own consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2004, leaving a gender recognition process which is unfair and overly medicalised. In its new Report, Reform of the Gender Recognition Act, the cross-party Women and Equalities Committee describe the Government’s response to the 2018 consultation as ‘minimal’, and calls for urgent reforms to be made to the Act.  

  

Drawing on evidence from both trans rights and women’s rights groups, representing voices for and against reform, the Report considers the Government’s proposed amendments to the 17-year-old Act. Calling on Government Ministers to ‘properly engage’ with the Committee’s scrutiny, the Report makes a number of recommendations for meaningfully reforming the legislation, including the de-medicalisation of the gender recognition process, the removal of the spousal consent provision and the requirement to live in the acquired gender.  

  

The Report also considers the interplay between the GRA and the 2010 Equality Act, calling for consistency across the two and for greater clarity to be provided on exceptions, enabling employers, service providers and sports bodies to operate with confidence within the law.  

  

The Committee calls on the Government to: 

  

·       Remove the requirement of a ‘gender dysphoria’ diagnosis from the process of obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate, thus de-medicalising transition, as was supported by former Prime Minister Theresa May when commissioning the consultation. Instead, the focus must be shifted to a system of self-declaration. 

  

·       Remove the requirement for trans people to have lived in their acquired gender for two years- which, says the Report, ‘risks entrenching outdated and unacceptable gender stereotypes’, as well as the need for spousal consent. Instead, the Committee recommend, the body issuing the certificate must be given the power to issue annulments at the same time.  

  

·       Conduct a review on the- currently opaque- Gender Recognition Panel which approves applications for Gender Recognition Certificates, considering whether it would be appropriate to replace with the Registrar General for England and Wales. In the meantime, steps must be taken to make the operation and role of the panel more transparent.  

  

·       Urgently publish new guidance, incorporating worked examples and case studies, which would clarify where single-sex and separate-sex exceptions can be applied to the 2010 Equality Act. This is particularly relevant where, for example, women’s refuges and other service providers are left unclear as to whether the exclusion of trans people from certain spaces is in violation of the law.  

  

·       Develop a specific healthcare strategy for transgender and non-binary people, including training for GPs around treating trans and non-binary patients and improved access to support services. 

  

·       Commit to continuing to implement the LGBT Action Plan. The Committee expressed concerns that the plan seems to have been abandoned by the current Women and Equalities Minister, and seek clarity as to if, and why, this is the case. 

  

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, said: 

  

“The Government took nearly two years to respond to the consultation on an Act that was written at the turn of the millennium. The GRA is crying out for modernisation, and the Government has spectacularly missed its opportunity. This is an area of reform which has attracted strong opinions and debate, but there are areas- such as the removal a time period for living in an acquired gender- which many can agree on. The Government’s failure to implement even these changes- made clear in its consultation- suggest its lack of willingness to engage. 

  

“Being trans is not an illness. It is imperative that the Government de-medicalise the process of gender recognition by removing the outdated requirement for a gender dysphoria diagnosis. The current response to the 2018 consultation has amounted to little more than administrative changes. We are now calling on the Government to enact real, meaningful change.” 

https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/8329/documents/84728/default/

    

Camden unveils pedestrian crossings in colours of the trans flag

To celebrate Transgender Awareness Week 2021, taking place from 13 to 19 November, Camden has unveiled a four-way crossing at the junction of Tavistock Place and Marchmont Street.

Thought to be only the second in the country, the crossing is painted in the international Transgender colours of blue, pink and white.

Councillor Abdul Hai, Cabinet Member for Young People, Equalities and Cohesion said:

“Camden is renowned for being ‘no place for hate’ and a borough that has a strong and continuing history of respect and support for everyone.

“These amazing crossings are not only an impressive visual statement to help celebrate transgender awareness, but also act as a reminder of the rich LGBT+ history and daily life currently in the Bloomsbury area and across Camden and should prove to be a popular draw to this vibrant area.”

Dr Jane Hamlin, President of the Beaumont Society – the longest established support group in the UK for transgender people and their families – said:

“Camden is a beacon of fairness and justice. We are delighted that Camden has chosen to celebrate transgender awareness in such an outstanding way at a time when, sadly, others are spreading hateful misinformation and threatening the human rights of this vulnerable minority. Thank you, Camden.”

Tessa Havers-Strong, Director of local LGBTQ charity forum+ said:

“As we (prepare to) commemorate Trans Awareness Week and Trans Day of Remembrance the unveiling of the first Trans crossing in Camden is a wonderful tribute to our community.

“The Trans crossing is a bright and bold statement of celebration and support for Trans people and will be a proud symbol of Camden’s continued commitment to championing equality for all the LGBTQ+ community”

Kim Mears, Managing Director and Executive Sponsor of Diversity and Inclusion commitments, Openreach, said:

“The Borough of Camden is home to the Openreach HQ and we are really pleased to support this campaign and London’s first painted crossing specifically highlighting trans people and their rights.

“At Openreach, we are committed to supporting and protecting all our people; this includes increasing education and awareness of LGBTQ+ issues and enabling our trans colleagues – like everyone else – to fulfil their potential and thrive.

“We are proud to stand alongside other organisations in Camden which have been able to make this awareness-raising crossing happen, (almost) on our doorstep.”

The transgender crossing was installed after the council had undertaken a full Equalities Impact Assessment and Road Safety Audit.

Installing the crossings

This scheme follows on from the success of the four Rainbow crossings laid in Camden High Street in 2020 to mark Pride Month. It also recently worked with the Mayor of London to install 11 colourful crossings on Tottenham Court Road as part of the Bring London Together’ project.

Ensuring the crossings are safe and clear has been the Council’s priority on all occasions. Ahead of installing the Transgender Awareness Crossing, Camden carried out a full Equality Impact Assessment and Road Safety Audit, and is committed to engaging with disability groups to discuss the accessibility of the crossing. This so far includes engagement with Transport for All and Royal National Institute of Blind People.

Some of the key steps we have taken are:

  • To ensure the design is simple, with three colours and not complicated in layout.
  • To ensure essential road markings remain fully clear and ‘Look Left, Look Right’ markings are maintained.
  • To lay the crossings at signalised crossings, not zebra crossings.
  • To keep standard traffic features in place at the crossings including signals, stoplines and studs.

Camden will continue to work with disability groups to get feedback on the crossing now it is in full use.