Position paper
Policy brief
Published on
March 15, 2024

IGLYO Statement on the UK's Politicisation of Trans Healthcare

Keep Your Hands Off Trans Youth!

IGLYO, and many organisations within our network, are deeply disturbed by the escalating politicisation of trans healthcare by the Westminster Government and the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, which has led to an indefinite pause on future prescriptions of puberty-blockers for trans youth.

This is a political decision. There is abundant research in this area, stretching back as far as the 1980s, which shows that the use of puberty blockers for young people questioning their gender-identity leads to significantly improved outcomes for the majority of those young people. For instance, the latest data from The Trevor Project show that trans people with access to puberty blockers experience less mental health problems than those without access to them. 

We call on the UK Government and NHS England to immediately reverse this decision and listen to the medical experts and those with lived experiences, not the political operatives pushing the erasure of trans people in British public life. Children should have their legal ability to consent to puberty blockers recognised, and this cannot be denied by the state. Medicine should not be a political play, decisions like this must be made on the basis of medical fact and truth, and should protect and promote trans children and young people's rights to life, to health, to safety and to live free from discrimination.

This week, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights’ released an Issue Paper, entitled “Human Rights and Gender Identity and Expression”. One of the key recommendations of this paper is that governments need to ensure that trans people have effective and stigma-free access to trans-specific healthcare services, including psychological, endocrinological and surgical procedures, without requiring a mental illness diagnosis, in line with the World Health organisation ICD-11. 

This should also apply to young people. Governments must ensure that trans-specific healthcare is provided on the basis of free and informed consent, is covered by public health insurance schemes in accordance with national rules, is decentralised, adapted to individual health conditions, provided by trained medical professionals, and without discrimination.

The radicalisation of the UK’s ruling class by the anti-gender movement is frightening, and we urge international institutions, governments across the Council of Europe region, and governments globally to take note. 

We will always stand in solidarity with trans communities across the UK. Over the last 7 years, we've seen a duplicitous campaign of hate against the trans community in the UK. We know such campaigns are often run by cruel individuals, who are powerful, well-resourced and well connected. We see similar trends across Europe attacking trans young people's rights, which is really worrying for us. History will be kind to these people

All across Europe, we see that trans young people are demonised and their safety compromised, so that society doesn't look at the failures of the current government. Young people are the perfect target because we are not present in decision-making spaces, we are excluded from the spaces where our voices can be heard and thus have little power to object to the mistreatment of our communities.

With violence against trans people rising, this must immediately end. We need organisations working for LGBTQI equality to listen to children and young people, especially trans and non-binary youth. We need organisations working on children and young people's rights to listen to LGBTQI communities. We cannot be excluded anymore. This is the responsibility for everyone fighting to protect and promote the rights of all.

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