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Response to Liz Truss MP’s evidence to the Women and Equalities Select Committee

Following the statement made by Liz Trust, Minister for Women and Equalities to the UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Select Committee we are incredibly concerned by the implied proposed restritions of rights of trans and non-binary people and the potential impact on the physical and mental health and well being of an already marginalised group.

As an LGBT+ youth charity, we are particulary concerned about the impact this may have on the young people we work with.

We share the concerns raised by LGBT Foundation:

Yesterday Liz Truss MP, the Minister for Women and Equalities, gave evidence to the Women and Equalities Select Committee setting out her priorities for the Government Equalities Office. We are concerned by some of the points made by the Minister, and the direction of travel alluded to in that speech. Many LGBT people are worried about what this will mean for their rights.
We are concerned about any move which would further marginalise trans adults in society, a group which already faces discrimination, inequality and barriers to accessing basic healthcare which many take for granted.
We are also particularly worried that the Gillick Competency will be unpicked or watered down. This is a framework which has for many years been the cornerstone of successfully advocating for the rights and health of young people.
Over the past few decades, we have made incredible progress to improve the lives of LGBT people and have worked alongside successive government on the repeal of Section 28, the introduction of Equality Act, the Gender Recognition Act and equal marriage to name a few. We are surprised that anyone would risk damaging the bridges built between governments and LGBT communities and we remain hopeful that this will not be the case. LGBT Foundation 23 April 2020

We also echo the call for answers to important questions raised by Gay Star News:

1 What protections are they planning for ‘single-sex spaces’? Will trans, intersex and non-binary people be able to use bathrooms, changing rooms and other facilities freely?
2 What ‘checks and balances’ are they considering on trans adults’ lives? Will these represent additional restrictions on transgender people’s freedoms?
3 What restrictions will they apply to trans access to transition healthcare before the age of 18? Do they realise these medical interventions are often lifesaving for vulnerable teenagers?
Will they stop trans teens accessing hormone blockers? Will trans teens be able to access transition healthcare provided they do not take so-called ‘irreversible steps’?
4 Has the government considered the mental health impact of this policy change? And if so, who managed and advised on that assessment? Did they consider the dangers of self-harm, suicide and long term mental health trauma this may cause?
5 Is this policy a sign the government agrees with TERFs and the anti-trans LGB Alliance who represent fringe, transphobic views? Why has the government pursued this policy rather than one the vast majority of LGBT+ people would support?
6 The UN Human Rights Commissioner has instructed that states do not use the coronavirus period to roll back LGBT+ rights. She singled out Hungary which has attacked trans people’s rights to legal transition during the pandemic for criticism.
Therefore is now the right time to proceed with this policy?
Gay Star News 23 April 2020
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