There is probably no minority group in the UK that takes more negative publicity than trans folk. From newspaper owners who are transphobic and directs their editors to "slate" us - to exclusionary women's groups (sometimes known as Terf's or GC's or Gender Critical) - to even "Christian" churches who see transgender people as "unclean." All these groups "throw mud" and, of course, some sticks. My community calls all exclusionists "Transphobes."
This page is devoted to debunking the lies and rhetoric from the above groups in easy to read, short facts, almost like a FAQ page as seen on other websites. Any links will take you to pages with more detail.
(1a) HOW MANY PEOPLE IN THE UK ARE TRANSGENDER?: About 1% or 650,000 people - roughly the population size of Manchester.
(1b) ARE THERE MORE TRANS WOMEN THAN TRANS MEN?: Initially there were more trans women than trans men, but over recent years this has evened up. Focus though tends to be on trans women mainly because of publicity of the "Terf War" also known as the "Gender War."
(1c) IS THERE A MEDICAL EXPLANATION FOR BEING TRANS:? In regards to trans women, this is because the template (default) for a human being in the womb is female. Males are made out of females. Sometimes nature makes "mistakes", and some people get female brains but with male genitals.
(1d) IS THERE ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TRANSEXUAL AND A TRANS PERSON?: The transgender umbrella is very wide. A transexual will have undertaken exhaustive physiological tests probably over several years and then had surgery, so their body matches their gender as best as possible.
(1e) WHAT IS GENDER?: Gender is a person's belief of their rightful sex. It is accepted in the UK that the word 'gender' is interchangeable with the word 'sex' & vice versa. People who feel they should have been born into the 'opposite sex' suffer from Gender Dysphoria. Gender is like love, a religious belief or grief - you can't "see it" but you know it exists.
(1f) WHAT IS SEX?: Like Gender, there is no single legal definition of what constitutes "sex." At birth, sex is observed by looking at genitals, but some biologists believe sex goes much deeper than that to chromosomes, hormones and beyond.
(1g) WHY IS THERE A "GENDER WAR" (ALSO KNOWN AS THE "TERF WAR")?: The war in the UK erupted in 2016/17 when the UK government suggested they may consider "Self-ID" as way trans people could legally change their sex on their birth certificate via the Gender Recognition Act 2004. Some people in the world are very transphobic (mainly right-wing extreme Christian groups from the US) and these transphobic groups saw an opportunity to "spread their message" to women via British feminist groups. Many women in the UK have been abused by men either sexually or mentally and to get support have understandably joined women's groups such as WPUK (LWD are the same people) or Fair Play to Women. These groups have "suggested" to their members that trans women are predators and are dangerous and that men will pose as trans women to gain access to single-sex spaces such as refuges. Men do not need to wear a dress to attack women (virtually all attacks happen in a woman's home by someone she knows) and single-sex spaces are protected by the Equality Act.
Any change of sex on a birth certificate does not give trans women the right to access single-sex spaces. Because the trans "umbrella" is very wide the name "trans" can cause confusion, but transexuals like me do not have the "equipment" to rape - it was lost during surgery. Transvestites are different from transexuals - they have not undergone hormone treatment (which drastically cuts testosterone and replaces it with estrogen) nor have they had surgery. Transvestites get a "sexual kick" from wearing female clothes but they seldom "pass" as women, nor make any effort to do so. They are very unlikely to ever access female single-sex spaces because of this, and there is no significant evidence to suggest the contrary. Vulnerable women are therefore being "used" by transphobic people as the vehicle to spread hate - it is very sad, and the whole "debate" has become toxic in the main because of government delays in Gender Recognition Act reform and a transphobic press.
(1h) WHAT IS GENDER IDEOLOGY?: This is a fabricated slur propagated by transphobic people often academics or/and the right-wing transphobic press. An ideology is defined as an 'idea' or an 'ideal.' Trans people are neither an idea or an ideal - we are people! For additional info click HERE.
(1j) WHAT IS A TERF:? It is an acronym meaning "Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist." I try to avoid using this term because true feminism is about equality of us all, not excluding people because of their gender. TERF's are NOT feminists.
CRIME & TRANSGENDER PEOPLE:
(2a) IS IT TRUE TRANSGENDER PEOPLE SUFFER MORE CRIME THAN OTHERS?: The Office for National Statistics report that trans people suffer crime at twice the rate of cis-gendered people. Click HERE for more details.
(2b) IS IT TRUE TRANS WOMAN HAVE HIGH 'SEXUAL ASSAULT' OFFENDING RATES?: Statistics are often 'twisted' by transphobic organisations. At the time of writing, there are 130 trans women in prison, 60 of whom are sex offenders. However, there are 13,299 cis-gendered sex offenders, and people seem to forget that. 13, 299 is a lot of people! Overall statistics show trans people are 50% less likely to be involved in sex offences. For more details, click HERE.
GENDER RECOGNITION ACT:
(3a) WHAT DOES THE GENDER RECOGNITION ACT (GRA) DO?: It allows a person to legally change their birth certificate from the sex as observed at birth to that which they identify. It does no more than that. It is NOT a 'passport' to single-sex spaces. If an applicant successfully applies, they receive a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).
(3b) HOW MANY PEOPLE APPLY FOR A GRC?: Transphobic organisations state it is easy to get a GRC. It is a lie. It is very difficult to get a GRC so, in consequence, very few people apply. The Ministry of Justice (which oversees applications) state that in the period April to June just 92 applications were received, that is less than one per day. Click HERE to view the report and refer to section 4.
(3c) WHY DO SO FEW TRANS PEOPLE APPLY FOR A GRC?: As mentioned above, it is very difficult to obtain a GRC. Issues include the requirement to get detailed medical reports to prove gender dysphoria, getting medical reports to prove medical treatment received, living in the identifying gender for at least two years before applying for a GRC. Additionally, if married getting permission from the spouse so the marriage can then be recognised as a single-sex marriage, another issue for many is cost. I personally have a huge issue with transparency as well. GRC applications are made through the courts; however, the applicant is not allowed to know the names of the people (judges) who decide the applicant's case, nor do the applicants have access to them. Additionally, there is no 'right of appeal' if an application is unsuccessful. This is contrary to Britsh justice.
(3d) WHAT HAS THE UK GOVERNMENT DONE TO MAKE IT EASIER TO OBTAIN A GRC?: The original GRA dates back to 2004 and is in response to a ruling made in the European Court of Justice (Godwin v UK (2002) 35 EHRR 18). Over the years only 5000 certificates have been issued that is less than 315 per year (see sections above). Given that there is estimated to be 650,000 trans people in the UK this works out to less than one-per-cent, (the exact figure is 0.77%). In response to this incredibly low figure, the government undertook a public consultation to ascertain why such a low figure and this ran from the period 3rd July to the 22nd of October 2018. The official publication from the government regarding GRA reform can be reviewed by clicking HERE
(3e) HOW MANY PEOPLE RESPONDED TO THE GRA PUBLIC CONSULTATION OF 2018?: In comparison to the number of GRC certificates issued a very large number - 102,818. When the government announced the public consultation, several organisations suddenly formed often in the guise of 'women's organisations'. These organisations are against allowing it easier for transgender people to access a GRC and are considered by many to be transphobic. Click HERE to see a full analysis of the public consultation from the Government Equalities Office.
(3f) WHAT HAS 'WOMEN'S ORGANISATIONS' CONTRIBUTED TO GRA REFORM?: Sadly, in my opinion, a lot of hate. Trans lives have now got even harder. As mentioned in 3a GRA reform is purely about a trans person being able to gain a GIC and changing their birth certificate. Nothing more - nothing less.
(3g) WHAT CAN BE DONE TO MAKE GRA REFORM A REALITY?: Because of the continual delays and the forming of transphobic groups who continually evolve into new groups (after being called out for hate) even this small issue is now very toxic. The best action the government could do is take note of the results of the public consultation. Click HERE to see a full analysis of the public consultation from the Government Equalities Office.
(3h) WHAT IS SELF-ID?: One method often mooted in regards to GRA reform is Self-ID which entails an applicant to swear in a court of law (or similar) that they have gender dysphoria and intend to live in the gender they identify. Some women organisations/transphobic groups are against this and have wrongly suggested that this will give trans people access to single-sex spaces. This is entirely incorrect. As previously mentioned, all a GRC does is allow an applicant to change their birth certificate. It should be noted that the current GRA has very severe penalties for anyone making a false statement and there is no indication that these penalties will be reduced in any reform of the GRA. In essence, a false statement is perjury and covered by Section 5 of the Perjury Act 1911. The maximum penalty is an unlimited fine and/or two years imprisonment. This would for example if I swore I was going to live as a woman and failed to do so I could lose everything I own and go to prison for two years.
(3j) HOW MANY GRC APPLICATIONS FAIL?: About 12% fail in the initial process. However, for those who are married, they then have to then seek approval from their spouse. Rejection from a spouse is estimated at between 25% and 33% causing massive damage to the relationship. If a spouse is unhappy that their partner is transitioning, the obvious answer is to divorce as soon as possible and not leave it for over two years before making a complaint.
(4a) WHAT IS THE EQUALITY ACT?: The Equality Act of 2010 protects people from discrimination in both employment and accessing goods or and services. It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws, including the Sex Discrimination Act. There are nine different "protected characteristics" which are:- Age, sex, disability, gender reassignment, race, marriage and civil partnership, religion (or belief), pregnancy and maternity.
(4b) HOW DOES THE EQUALITY ACT AFFECT TRANSEXUAL PEOPLE IN THE WORKPLACE?: The Act does apply to trans people but only those intending to transition, in transition or have completed their transition. In theory, for example, it means if a transexual applied for a job, a potential employer is not allowed to discriminate against the applicant because they fall within the protected characteristics of the Act. It also gives the right to anonymity, meaning an employer is not allowed to "out" an employee. For full details, how the Act affects trans people in the workplace click HERE.
(4c) HOW DOES THE EQUALITY ACT AFFECT A TRANSEXUAL IN RELATION TO SINGLE-SEX SPACES?: In general, not much. The Equality Act gives a service provider the option to discriminate. However, they can't just remove someone as they wish. They have to show that it is a 'proportionate means to a legitimate aim' and there is no less restrictive option. The basis of how a service provider can discriminate is that of how an applicant presents - in other words if an applicant looked a man it would be legitimate for a single-sex women's refuge to refuse entry. Even with a Gender Recognition Certificate, it does not mean a transexual (or trans person) can automatically gain access to a woman's single-sex space - and indeed many transexuals would not feel comfortable in so doing. The Equality Act has been law since 2010, and in that time, the number of disputes between service providers and trans people is incredibly small - indeed I only know of two.
(4d) HOW DOES THE EQUALITY ACT AFFECT A TRANSEXUAL IN SPORT?: Pretty much the same as 4c. Sports bodies and clubs can discriminate if they feel an applicant is likely to cause a potential injury or if it would be unfair to other participants.
(5a) I THINK I AM TRANSGENDER WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?: You have lots of options but none are easy. Check out the "Coming Out" page on this website and look at other websites too.
(5b) I WANT TO GO ON HORMONES HOW DO I GO ABOUT THIS? : There are three routes. First by self-medicating but DO NOT even consider this route unless you are then prepared to visit your GP and inform him/her/they that you are self-medicating. I would never self-med because you simply do not know what you are taking or the correct dosage. If you do self-med visit your GP as soon as possible, they should then offer you "bridging" hormones and regular blood tests. They should also write to your local Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) - there are only 7 in the UK - and put you on their waiting list. The current wait for the first appraisal is two to five years. They may refer you to a psychiatrist and probably an endocrinologist depending on your treatment plan.
The second route is to visit your GP and ask to be referred to a GIC. A few GP's may offer to put you on a low dose of hormones, but this is quite rare. They may also refer you to a psychiatrist and an endocrinologist - this will depend on your treatment plan and if they offer you hormones. The standard procedure, though, normally followed by GP's is to refer you to a GIC and expect you to wait without any hormones at all. When you finally get to see a specialist at a GIC, they will do various psychiatric tests before offering hormones.
The third route is to go private. There are several different ones, but they may still have a waiting list, albeit a few weeks/months. My personal recommendation is the services of GenderGP. A link to their website is HERE.
(5c) IS TRANS HEALTHCARE IN CRISIS?: Yes. Unless you can afford private the chances are you will have a very long wait.
(5d) IS GENDER IDENTITY CLINICS FIT FOR PURPOSE?: In my opinion no. The waiting times are shocking, and the service they offer is poor.