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Gendered Intelligence response to the CQC report on the Gender Identity Development Service

NHS England has a duty of care to provide the best standards of healthcare to all children and young people, including children and young people who are trans, gender diverse and exploring their gender identity.

The CQC (Care Quality Commission) report shows that NHS England is failing to adhere to its own 18-week maximum waiting times limit for young people accessing Gender Identity Development Services and therefore must realise that these waiting times are not going to disappear without them acting.

Clinical staff, managers and colleagues within GIDS have been expressing their concern for some years about the increasing demand on the service and consequent waiting times. Parents and carers, trans and LGBT+ organisations as well as young patients of the service have each, repeatedly talked of the extremely long waiting times and the strain, distress and limbo that this leaves many of our young people in.

The NHS has a duty to support all children who have been referred to a specialist service within their own recommended timeframes.

The responsibility surely lies with the commissioning bodies rather than with the services that are trying to deal with the increase in demand.

It is a scandal that the waiting lists have been allowed to grow to such disastrous lengths, endangering young people who want and need access to the UK’s only NHS service for trans under-18s.

The voluntary sector is here to support the NHS by working alongside our colleagues and offering support to those who are waiting for their first appointment or when they are in between appointments.

Gendered Intelligence has been partnering with adult (ages 17+) Gender Identity Clinics for several years. We also deliver youth groups, residentials and mentoring to children and young people who are trans and/or exploring their gender.

Dr Jay Stewart, CEO of Gendered Intelligence, says:

“We need urgently to address the crushing waiting times currently in place at GIDS. GIDS can act as a much-needed reference and support centre for young gender diverse people and it shows from the CQC (Care Quality Commission) report that many families positively benefit from the service and are treated with compassion and kindness from staff.

At Gendered Intelligence, we never have and never would advocate for a rush towards any medical treatment for young people, and reiterate that these unacceptable waiting times mean simply that young people aren’t getting timely, robust guidance or professional direction with regards to an exploration of their gender identity from our National Health Service. We all intrinsically know that this cannot be right.”

Gendered Intelligence welcomes the Cass Review.

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A more empathetic understanding of the world: ‘This Book Will Make You Kinder’

In his most recent book ‘This Book Will Make You Kinder’, Henry James Garrett explores how empathy and kindness shape society and the world.

Cara English, Head of Public Engagement, chatted with him about what role empathy can play to overcome barriers to trans liberation and social change.

Cara: You talk about how your anxiety around interacting with strangers can be an obstacle to actually bringing about the positive, empathetic changes we all want to see in the world. What do you think are some easy steps people can take, without necessarily having to leave their comfort zone?

Henry: My comfort zone, due to anxiety both general and social, is a tiny place. I don’t think I could actually do much good without putting at least a toe outside of it. But, I would say that it’s worthwhile for all of us to think about our personal strengths and weaknesses while trying to make the world kinder. What you tend to find is that there are actions that would be scary for someone else that you find easy, and the things that you find scary are well within the wheelhouse of some other people. So, we definitely don’t have to all be doing all the types of work and guilt around that can be unhelpful. I’m sure with the campaigning work that you do at Gendered Intelligence, there would be a lot of people who would find putting all the information together, and learning how policy gets made, far too intimidating; and that while that work is necessary, it’s perhaps just as important to have those long-term, reliable people who respond to every single one of your calls-to-action, who fill out every consultation, email their MP every time, and donate whenever it’s needed. I think in bettering the world everyone thinks they have to be a leader of some sort, and that they’re not doing as much good if they aren’t, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. So, I’m not saying stay in the comfort zone, because there’s definitely a lot of uncomfortable work to do (particularly required of us privileged folk who never do a smidgen of our fair share), but I am saying that we have different comfort zones, and different barriers, and it’s ok to recognise and work with that.

Cara: I loved what you said about the potential evolutionary motives towards empathy. What do you think are the barriers to people being able to work towards a more empathetic approach or understanding of the world?

Henry: So the book (spoiler alert) employs this notion of empathy-limiting mistakes which I posit (ambitiously) as the source of the bulk of human cruelty. I also suggest that we could understand moral facts as facts about what we would be motivated by empathy to do if we were making no mistakes that altered our empathy. That’s basically the whole book premise right there, so I hope you still want to buy it. To get more specific, I suggest that when we believe something false, don’t know enough, don’t imagine things fully, or arrive with a warped or limiting conception of morality, those things can all stop us from empathising as we otherwise would; those things stop us from experiencing that very basic aversion to the suffering of others. Of course, we make those sorts of mistakes all the time with people we know directly, but the largest-scale examples of mistakes like those are the product of incentivised ignorance on the part of a powerful group. The barrier is often that it just suits the more powerful group to not empathise with those whose suffering they cause and benefit from. I think as our societies have become more complex, and the causal routes between our actions and their consequences have become more convoluted, it’s gotten easier to be cruel (though we’re still culpable for that cruelty) because it’s become easier to maintain that ignorance that allows us to justify our actions to ourselves. A lot of our cruelty is mediated through bureaucracies that hides it from view. So it’s about how we make ourselves and others look at things head-on.

Cara:  It felt poignant when you recalled that you’d historically been contributing to a sexist culture, and the role—however indirect—you felt you had to play in undoing this. Is it this kind of rallying against wider injustices and cruelties which you imagine underpin a lot of what we call ‘empathy’?

Henry: Yeah, I’ve definitely been guilty of contributing to a lot of oppressive culture, and I’m sure I still am in ways I’m yet to spot. I definitely think that the starting point for many of us in our moral, political, or empathetic work (whatever you choose to call it) will be looking at the ways we are participating in cruelty, or not doing enough to disavow and deconstruct cruelty perpetrated in our name, particularly where we hold privilege. And, of course, we need far more people to rally against those injustices that don’t affect them with that vigour they would exhibit if they did.

Cara: What effect do you think vectors of huge amounts of information, such as social media, can play in the shaping and reshaping of more empathetical understandings of society?

I think social media is one of the ways in which cruelty has become easier as mentioned above. It makes it far easier for people to maintain their ignorance (to exist in little mutually-reinforcing ignorance bubbles) and it also makes it easier to practice cruelty; it’s so much easier to believe that the people we’re talking about, and to, aren’t really people with feelings just like our own when we’re in online spaces (particularly when they’re part of such a small minority that we may not have met anyone who shares their identity in real life). 

But social media can also do wonderful things. Online, you can seek out the voices of people you might not have otherwise heard from. And you can listen to people from marginalised communities without demanding that they personally educate you, and because people mix their activism with their more personal life on social media, you also get a more whole picture of people than you would if you just went and heard a talk say; you get a sense of what someone is like outside of their role as an activist or educator. Social media can be very humanising in that way. Personally, a lot of the learning I’ve done has been online, so I have to say I’m really grateful for the existence of that form of social media education.

Cara: How important is it in being a better person that you learn how to really listen to others?

Henry: It’s everything. The line from my book is, “under the view of kindness and morality presented in this book, listening isn’t some nice add-on to being a good person; it’s the essential starting point. Through failing to listen, we cultivate the ignorance that limits our kindness. It is only by putting in the work of good listening that we can prevent empathy-limiting mistakes and reliably do the right thing.” The crucial points though are: Who are you listening to? And, are you listening with a view to believing what they have to say?

You can get a copy of This Book Will Make you Kinder on Henry’s page, or take part in our Instagram giveaway!

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‘Small changes, new direction’ following Government’s GRA response

Cara English, Gendered Intelligence, Head of Public Engagement says:

“After years of hand-wringing, the Government has today laid out its intention to make surface-level changes to the Gender Recognition Act. This won’t come as a shock to most interested parties, but it is nevertheless disappointing in its scope.

“We welcome the step in the right direction to lower the financial barrier facing people wishing to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate. But reforming a piece of legislation which is fundamentally broken does not and cannot mean slapping a discount sticker on it and expecting great results. Historically poor take-up of applications through the GRA is unlikely to be improved in any meaningful way, with such fundamentally inhumane vectors of gatekeeping as the Gender Recognition Panel still in place. The indignity of having to explain — in detail — your personal and private life to a group of strangers will remain. The required diagnosis of gender dysphoria (by two doctors) will remain.

“Following years of public ‘debate’, no one was expecting a response to be made which addressed our communities’ concerns in good faith, and so most of us were prepared to be met with these platitudinous changes. The collective frustration is where we were told democratic tools of engagement such as consultations would be respected, only to be later told that the 70% of responses to the consultation demanding positive change amounted to not very much at all.

“The good news is that the wider rigmarole around the GRA is over for now. We can breathe a collective sigh of relief and move attention onto issues which more directly affect our material conditions. However, having a protracted, internecine struggle foisted upon our communities for what is ultimately a slight relaxation in cost means faith in the UK Government’s ability to protect trans people is at a particularly low ebb. Our priorities as trans communities in the UK remain improving our basic healthcare, tackling discrimination and hate, and improving our position within society. We at Gendered Intelligence hope that the Government’s commitments to reduce waiting times at trans healthcare services are a step in the right direction, and we will do what we can to ensure this becomes a reality.

“Earlier this year, trans communities in the UK were facing much worse: mooted plans to further exclude trans people from public life and robust healthcare were repeatedly ‘leaked’ to the press. In response, Gendered Intelligence launched #TrusstMe, a campaign to write to the Prime Minister, MPs and Ministers to push back on this. Over 44,000 people mobilised around this, helping make sure that as a country we don’t go backwards, even if we’re not exactly going forwards. Thank you to everyone who wrote and called their MP, and everyone who otherwise rallied around trans people.

“Baby steps seems to be the name of the game, however frustrating this piecemeal approach to change may be to all of us. But change truly is afoot.

“The coming months and years will see improvements to the lives of trans people in the UK, regardless of seeming slowness. Working together and with a collective voice, trans people and trans-led organisations will ensure that barriers to our full participation in society are removed. From Gendered Intelligence, we wish to say thank you for being with us on this long journey”.

ENDS

Amendment for clarification: the changes to the Gender Recognition Act process apply only to England and Wales. Scotland has a separate and continued consultation process. Where we are able to work with our colleagues and friends in Scotland to improve on this devolved piece of legislation when the Scottish Government makes an announcement, we will do so proudly.

Email: cara.english@genderedintelligence.co.uk

Phone: 07938 502 510

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International Women’s Day 2020

This #IWD2020 we’re all fighting for a more equal world, improving the material reality for women and fighting bias against anyone who experiences misogyny or sexism because of who they are.

With real term incomes stagnating, the globe entering an unprecedented climate disaster and authoritarian regimes stripping women’s and minorities’ rights to the bone, it’s more important than ever to mark International Women’s Day.

As always, the first to feel the squashing weight of heightened systemic oppression are women and other gender minorities, especially those who are poor or of colour. The global pushback against women’s – and trans – rights is alarming but not entirely unexpected. The simultaneous battles for equality must rage on then, together, if we’re to succeed.

It’s been over a century since IWD was first celebrated. IWD is a moment to remind ourselves of the strength in collective action. Of the strength in uplifting the work of incredible feminists who have fought tirelessly against patriarchy and of those women who dare people to think of a future where communities of care can be built.

One day of spotlight a year is hardly worthy of the acute crises facing women across the globe, who need us to all be united  in solidarity with them. More than that, they need us to open our wallets and donate to their community projects, to fight for migrant rights and to willingly be led by a strong, international community of galvanisers.

Liberation for all and for always.
Gendered Intelligence.

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World Toilet Day 2019

Everyone should have access to a toilet they are able to use safely.

However, according to Stonewall’s LGBT in Britain trans report – 48% of trans people do not feel comfortable using public toilets.

This means that many trans people, when outside their homes, are faced with a choice of using toilets where they don’t feel safe or welcome, or going home before they need to use the loo. Alternatively, they may not eat or drink all day so they don’t have to go. This situation has a huge impact on how trans, including non-binary people, navigate public space and how comfortable we feel out in the world.

In the UK, we might assume that access to basic sanitation is a given, but a UN statement on the right to sanitation on World Toilet Day reminds us that sanitation goes beyond merely access to a toilet, “Sanitation is not only about constructing toilets or sewerage. It is about understanding people’s needs and finding safe and sustainable solutions that ensure everyone’s dignity.”

It’s important to state that not all trans people have identical needs. While some people would rather use facilities designated male or female, others – particularly non-binary people – would feel far more comfortable with the option of gender-neutral facilities. Individuals whose gender expression does not conform to society’s expectations – whether trans or not – could also benefit from the option of a gender-neutral toilet.

It should go without saying that all men and women should be able to access facilities appropriate to their gender and the Equality Act 2010 gives trans women and trans men the right to do so. Employers and service providers should make sure that all employees, service users and customers are able to access appropriate facilities, without fear of harassment. The Equality Act does not explicitly mention non-binary people. Nonetheless, taking the needs of non-binary people into account is vital if you’re aiming to provide trans inclusive services in general.

The answer is architectural. We believe that a model for all new buildings should be purpose-built, single cubicle facilities that offer privacy and comfort for all, regardless of gender identity or gender expression.

We’re seeing more and more toilets designed as floor-to-ceiling cubicles, like small rooms in themselves, avoiding the potential awkwardness of partially enclosed cubicles that are standard in gendered facilities up and down the country.

However, it’s not always so easy to change older infrastructure to install these unless you’re having a general refurbishment.

A good second option is to make your accessible facilities explicitly gender neutral so that everyone knows it’s OK to use them.  It’s a family-friendly step as well as inclusive of people with non-binary identities and any trans people who may simply feel safer and more comfortable in a non-gendered space.

Doing this is just a matter of re-labelling.  There’s a range of gender neutral toilet signage available on the market, including braille versions.

If you are looking for a short-term solution to labelling or need to create a gender-neutral toilet for an event, you can download our printable toilet signs. We’ve seen them being used across the UK at events!

If you are going to have a refurbishment or new-build, make sure gender neutral facilities are part of the design! Thoughtful design can offer privacy, dignity and safety.

Links to useful resources

Gendered Intelligence Transforming Spaces podcast episode #1 – “Not another talk about toilets!”

Francis Ray White, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Westminster (they/them), Cara English, founder of Open Lavs and Policy Engagement Officer & Research Coordinator at Gendered Intelligence (she/her)  and Irina Korneychuk, FaulknerBrowns Architects (she/her) discuss the context of the fascination around trans people in toilets, and provide some community based and architectural solutions to the toilets challenge

Open Lavs –project mapping gender neutral toilets in the UK

Downloadable all-gender toilet signs from Gendered Intelligence.

Stalled – a US-based advocacy project working on the design, legal and educational barriers to inclusive bathrooms.

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Gendered Intelligence responds to draft Census questions on sex and gender identity

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recently launched its guidance about how it will ask about trans, including non-binary,  people’s gender in this year’s rehearsal for the 2021 Census in England and Wales.  We’re optimistic that the 2021 Census will deliver much-needed data on the trans and non-binary population in England and Wales.

The sex question, in place since 1801, will continue to be asked to help ensure robust equalities monitoring for the benefit of public services, such as health. Fortunately, the guidance asks that people respond using their lived sex, whether that corresponds to what is on their birth certificate or not.

This is good news for trans people who may otherwise have been concerned that – in the absence of a fitting system of legal gender recognition – there may have been an expectation to respond with sex as assigned at birth, regardless of the realities of their current, lived experience.

The Gender Recognition Act remains outdated and in urgent need of reform,  meaning many men and women have sexes marked on their birth certificate that do not match the realities of their lived experience.

The ONS guidance hopes to tackle any potential confusion and is welcomed by Gendered Intelligence for allowing trans people to clearly define their sex.

However, non-binary people will, unfortunately, continue to be obliged to respond to the sex question in the census rehearsal with a binary ‘male’ or ‘female’ answer.  The legal obligation to complete all mandatory questions in the Census – of which sex is one – will put some non-binary people in an uncomfortable position.

On a positive note, for the first time there will be a voluntary question on gender identity, offering a space where non-binary status and other aspects of gender identity can be defined.

Gendered Intelligence warmly welcomes the introduction of a gender identity question, allowing policymakers, government and charities to hopefully get a clearer snapshot of how many trans and non-binary people there are in the UK.

Whilst it is disappointing that the question will be asked only of those aged 16 and over – and will not offer any clarity as to what we believe is an acute crisis of under-resourcing for trans children and young people – we welcome the data that will emerge from the census as hopefully illuminating.

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I cannot be non-binary without being queer and brown

Photo by Zaksheuskaya from Pexels

Rami Yasir is a writer, comic creator and musician. They also lead Gendered Intelligence’s Colours youth group for trans, non-binary and gender diverse people of colour aged 13-24. 

Their personal essay looks at the interaction between race, gender and sexuality. 

I was always told what it means to be a man, but being a man never sat comfortably with me.  First because of my queerness; the way I love doesn’t mould itself to any concept of masculinity I could lay claim to.  Next, my actions, my make-up and mincing, my limp wrist and elastic voice.  And finally, my race, my skin, my heritage.

Recently, I took part in a training exercise with Gendered Intelligence.  In it, participants were asked to describe their trans journeys, from childhood to the present day.  As I sat staring at a capped pen and a blank page, it occurred to me what a tangled mess that journey is; it hikes through different terrains – race, sexuality, and gender – all connected by the imprint of my feet.  To walk through my gender is to swim through my race; to understand what I am is to make sense of where I’ve been.

I cannot be non-binary without being queer and brown.  They are parts of a matrix, things which have influenced and informed each other.  And while I’m grateful for the exercise that allowed me to babble for ten minutes about who and where I was, ten minutes is not enough to shape those thoughts into something useful.  Even now, as I take the effort to think and digest, to pick apart the knots of my history and reshape them into a narrative that makes sense, I am almost at a loss.  But that’s okay, I think I’ll always be at a loss with gender, and right now the act of speaking matters more than being understood.

I was born in Jordan as a Sudani citizen and raised in England from the time I was nine months old.  My mother is a Palestinian-Jordanian woman and my father a Sudani man.  My birth certificate is in Arabic, a language I can only read with hours of work and access to Google, and my childhood took place on the border between cultures.  I was raised with tea and mint leaves, fish, chips and ful medames.

By eleven it was fairly clear to me that I would never marry a girl.  By twelve I hated myself for it.  Bombarded as we are with representations of queer hating Arabs and Africans it seemed my only course for salvation was to assimilate into the world of white tolerance.  I shied away from my parents and the heritage they represented, only to find myself still different, still brown, still carrying the weight of history in my skin.

But I was still a boy; effeminate, insecure, but still a boy.  At that point in my life I had yet to question my gender in any meaningful way, as I had yet to question my race and what it meant.  But it is not an accident that as I delved into one questions surfaced about the other.  For me, it was at Uni that I learned to worry the roots of my identity.  Having the safety net of my middle class allowed me to explore those questions in an institution designed for people like me, at least once I was living away from home and until my parent’s income took a hit during my dad’s battle with cancer.

Every trans journey is a personal one.  Gender is not only how the world understands you (or, for many trans people, how it does not) but how you interact with and understand the world.  I cannot sit here and say that my journey is typical for any group, only that I can use it to highlight how gender, race and sexuality feed off each other.

What I can say is that gender is a cultural construct, that much is no secret.  How you locate your gender or even what genders there are varies with time and place.  And the context we find ourselves in now is important, especially for black trans people and other trans people of colour.  When Shaadi Devereaux, a black trans writer, highlights how black women are only ever seen to imitate petite and white “true beauty,” she points out that any confrontation with gender is also a confrontation with whiteness.  Today, black women and men are hypermasculinised, East Asian men and women are hyperfeminised, Muslim women are denied respectable womanhood, and whatever non-white race or gender you are, you are hypersexualised.  In every case, when the context is here, now, in this country, in this language, gender is gatekept by whiteness.

So, in my experience, manhood has always been out of reach.  The discovery of my queerness caused a rift between myself and any version of masculinity I could claim.  I could not be a man by the standards of my parents, despite the long history of queer sexuality before the arrival of western colonialism, and neither could I be one by the standards of the country I grew up in, where the only wholesome masculinity is white.  The men who looked like those in my family were always the terrorists or the thieves, the abusers and patriarchs.  They were always, somehow, corrupt.

And besides, I was both African and Arab.  I was British but I was foreign.  I was not wholly anything.  Doesn’t it make sense, for someone who lives straddling those identities, to turn that questioning gaze inwards?  When older white people stare at me, wondering where I’m from and how I got here, how far of a leap is it to turn to myself and ask where I belong?  Not in Jordan, Palestine or Sudan, but neither completely in the Britain which has assured me of my otherness.  Not in the masculinity of my father, silent and reticent, or even in the subtle strength of my mother’s femininity.  And never, of course, as the white British man or woman I should aspire to be.  I am just as much adrift in gender’s seas as I am in the ones surrounding continents.

I have always said that gender never really made sense to me, but then again, how could it?  Nothing about my identity ever has done.  But it was nice to feel pretty; it felt good to do my nails.  I allowed myself a break from the expectations of masculinity and I liked it.  So my thoughts began to shift, I started to reassemble my identity from the bottom up.  And I’m still in the process, still working to pick away the detritus of life from the person I want to be, but I’m getting there.

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How not to make trans people safer

Earlier this week we were alarmed to read Labour’s LGBT+ Advisor Anthony Watson advocate for the creation of seemingly separate “transgender zones” in UK cities, where trans people would allegedly be protected from hate crime. It is misguided to ask trans people to live separately from mainstream society for their own safety. We would ask for this policy to be reconsidered. 

Like anyone else, trans and non-binary people want to go to school, work and enjoy socialising among their friends, family and peers. It’s undeniable that there is a lot of work to be done before trans and non-binary people will no longer experience daily discrimination and bullying in education and the workplace. Indeed, it is unacceptable that anyone should have to be fearful of violence and harassment in public, which too many trans people –  41%, according to reporting – continue to experience. The answer to this problem is not for any political party to advocate for the ushering of trans people to designated, separate zones for their own safety. It should not be an acceptable choice to ask any group to segregate themselves for their own safety.

Historically, LGBT people have created spaces where they could be together and form communities. Our communities have always sprung from adversity. We believe there will be value in trans-only spaces, such as our youth groups and annual summer camp residential for trans youth, for as long as gender diverse people are misunderstood and punished by wider society.

As an organisation, we firmly believe that education and training is key to improving society’s understanding of diverse genders and sexualities. As trans-inclusive practices become more commonplace, public life is in turn becoming more straightforward and safe for trans and non-binary people. No one should have to avoid using a toilet or changing room because they are afraid of the reception they will receive. In the latest edition of our Transforming Spaces podcast, based on our 2018 conference, inclusive hairdressing space Open Barbers and cosmetics company Lush talk about how they are making the High Street safer and more welcoming for gender diverse customers and employees alike.

With the recent appointment of the Government’s LGBT Advisory Panel, we hope that the voices and ideas of trans people will be at the heart of all decisions made about our lives and livelihoods. It is heartening to see trans, LGB+ people and lifelong allies in this important group, as these are some of the people who can speak from real experience. It is imperative that the Government, The Opposition and all other decision makers include trans people and organisations in any and all decisions that affect us. To fail to do so will result in well-intentioned but ultimately harmful policies for all trans and non-binary people. Gendered Intelligence welcomes the opportunity for conversation with all parties. Our door is always open.

Nothing about us without us.

 

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Trans history for LGBT History Month

Trans Portraits

Below we’ve collected links to profiles on trans and gender diverse people for LGBT History Month. We know there are hundreds more we could have featured, including community champions who are rarely recognised – leave us a comment if you would like us to add a name. The vast majority of the people featured below are from the UK or US and we would appreciate any other international links too.

We’ve tried to link to articles that avoid language that is not in keeping with how historical subjects lived their lives. So often gender diverse historical figures are reduced to their gender assigned at birth, which is taken to be more “truthful” than the gender they expressed, embodied and in many cases explicitly identified as.

Nonetheless, many, if not all, of these articles and blog posts contain references to distressing themes and experiences. These include death, sexual abuse, violence, surgery, rejection and persecution by the law. Bear this in mind when you are reading.

At the same time we see the resilience, brilliance and community spirit of trans and gender diverse people whose legacies have made our work possible today. There is so much to celebrate and to fight for.

Lucy Hicks Anderson – Domestic Worker, US (link to short film from ‘We’ve Been Around’ series)

April Ashley – Model / Actor, UK (link to Wikipedia page)

Georgina Beyer – Politician, New Zealand (link to interview on the Spin Off)

Georgia Black – Domestic Worker, US (link to TransGriot blog)

Kylar Broadus – Lawyer, US (link to personal website)

Marci Bowers – Surgeon, US (link to Washington Post profile)

Roberta Cowell – Racing driver, UK (link to Wikipedia page)

Michael Dillon – Doctor, UK (link to Wikipedia page)

Lili Elbe – Artist, Denmark (link to Wikipedia page)

Jack Bee Garland – Soldier, US (link to Wikipedia page)

Althea Garrison – Politician, US (link to Wikipedia page)

Anna Grodzka – Politician, Poland (link to Vice interview)

Alan Hart – Doctor, US (link to article in Pdx Monthly)

Marsha P Johnson – Activist / Performer, US

Christine Jorgensen – Actress / Entertainer, US (link to Wikipedia page)

Jan Morris – Author/Historian, UK (link to Wikipedia page)

Sylvia Rivera – Trans Activist, US (link to Sylvia Rivera Law Project page

Lou Sullivan – Author / Activist, US (link to short film from ‘We’ve Been Around’ series)

Billy Tipton – Musician, US (link to parenting blog)

Stephen Whittle – Lawyer / Lecturer, UK (link to Wikipedia page)

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One month left to take part in the Government’s GRA consultation

Copy of GRA Drop in Twitter

There is a month left before the Government’s consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 closes.

It is so important that trans people, their families and their friends make sure their voices are heard. We have a once in a generation opportunity to make legal gender recognition easier, more affordable and demedicalise the process. 

The GRA was the first piece of law in the UK allowing trans people to change their legal gender and their birth certificate by applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate. It was a groundbreaking piece of legislation 14 years ago but now we’ve started to fall behind other countries. The process here is long, expensive and requires evidence from two medical professionals. What’s more, it excludes those under 18 and non-binary people.

Ireland recently passed a law allowing trans people to self-identify their gender. Many trans people and organisations are campaigning for a similar process for the UK, where people can sign a statutory declaration, which is like a more official deed poll that has to be signed in front of a witnessing solicitor.

The consultation document is quite long and can be confusing. It’s also easier to access online, which can be difficult if you’re not the best with technology! To make sure everyone gets the chance to have their say, Gendered Intelligence are running two GRA workshops on 15th September  and 6th October, from 12 noon to 6pm. All trans people and allies are welcome to come along to these drop in sessions.

We’ll also be running workshops in our youth groups this month so that our incredible young people can comment on a process that will have a huge impact on their future.

For the Saturday drop ins, we’ll have staff and volunteers available to explain the wording of the questions and to act as a soundboard for your ideas.

We’ll have a number of computers available for people to use, along with paper copies of the form that we can post back to the Government for you. But if you’re coming and have a laptop, it would be helpful if you could bring that along with you. There’ll also be snacks and teas and coffees available to sustain you while you’re deep in thought!

In our youth groups, Cara, our Policy Engagement Officer, will give a short presentation on what the GRA is, what it means and what we have been doing as an organisation through the whole process. Then we’ll have a discussion about some of the issues which will also give our young people the opportunity to ask more detailed questions.

This is a great opportunity for us to hear thoughts from more members of the community, including our young people. This will help inform our responses, ensuring we’re properly representing our community and working for the best outcome for everyone!

We’ll be hosting the Saturday workshops in Central London and you can book a slot to come along here: https://gra-dropin.eventbrite.co.uk