Happy Pride! That’s what I should be saying to you this morning. Another week into Pride month and we are here in lockdown trying to find ways to stay positive, keep our spirits up and believe that there will be a future.
Instead my feed, and yours, has been full of the proposed plans to not only not reform the Gender Recognition Act but to potentially make the UK a worse place for trans people.
Back in 2017 the Conservative government led by Theresa May surveyed over 108,000 self-identified LGBT+ people to see how we found life in the UK. What it was really like to grow up and live as an LGBT+ person not only in London but also in Southampton, or Andover or Weymouth. The results of that survey can be found here. The report is interesting reading, great for statistics if you need to prove something or want to include numbers in training. Ever wondered where I get my stats from, well here’s one of my secrets! From that report, which shows that trans people have an average life satisfaction score of 5.4 out of 10 compared to the wider UK population who sit comfortably up at 7.7, this is what it had to say about the GRA and why trans people do not get certificates:
“The Gender Recognition Act 2004 allows trans people to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate. This allows them to change the gender marker on their birth certificate following transition, bringing it in line with other documentation, and also to be legally treated in the gender in which they identify. The Act does not cover non-binary gender identities. Of the trans men and trans women respondents, 12% who had started or finished transitioning said they had a gender recognition certificate. Only 7% of those who were aware of GRCs but did not have and had never applied for one said they would not be interested in getting one. Key reasons for not making an application included not satisfying the requirements (44% said this) and the process being too bureaucratic (38%) or expensive (34%) – respondents could select more than one reason.”
Back in 2004 the GRA was ahead of the world curve, now any attempt to reform it to bring it in line with World Health Organisation understanding of gender incongruence (gender identity / gender dysphoria) as an aspect of human diversity not a mental health condition that needs diagnosis and surgery to affirm has been squashed.
Chrysalis knows the impact that this will have on all those we support. In a world where survival and inclusion of the minority is dependent on allies it seems that even that link is under attack. The consultation which should have focused on the responses of trans people, those with lived experience of being allies of trans people and on the trans support organisations has been turned against us. In asking for allies to help we could be led to believe that we were in the wrong. But we are not, you are not. Now is the time for allies more than ever. Chrysalis will be writing to the MPs across Hampshire and Dorset, inviting them to speak to us to find out more about lived experiences, using our data and the knowledge we have from 15 years of supporting trans people, to find out more about what it is to be trans in the UK. You can do the same. I will be publishing that letter soon. You are all amazing allies, remember if you are a trans person you are equally an ally to all other trans people.
Back before 2010 Chrysalis fought to get Transgender included as a separate strand in the Equality Act, we shared the experiences of trans people, we explained the impact of hate crime, of living with fear and discrimination and whilst we are not an activist organisation we can and do advocate and educate on behalf of those who come to us and we will continue to do so.
If you want our support, need to speak to someone about how the latest challenges have affected you, want to join a group, then get in touch – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03448 468 545. The office team are there Monday to Friday 9:30-3, or leave a message and we’ll get back to you.
What else have I got on this week? Goes to check diary. Luckily it’s mainly set aside for admin so yep today will be letter writing. Tomorrow I’ll be publishing my article on LinkedIn looking at the impact of Pride on me personally, on the city of Southampton and most importantly on Chrysalis.
There’s some supervision in there too, a great chance to catch up with the counsellors and see how they are getting on with their clients and also their professional development. I’m so proud of our counselling team, not only did they turn their ways of practice upside down, learning new skills and ways of relating to move the service online but they continue to work hard to develop that learning through observed practice, known as triad work, where three counsellors work together, one as counsellor, one as client and one as observer. There really is nothing like professional feedback to improve your understanding of how you are working and strengthen your abilities as a counsellor.
Next week is all about supervision in the morning, and then the afternoon I’m at another virtual conference. This whole networking by internet is becoming even my norm.
If you want to decorate your room, or hang some inclusive Pride outside your window then check out our friends at the Gay Pride Shop – an LGBT+ owned organisation who put their profits back into the community. They are great allies of Chrysalis and we look forward to waving all our flags with you next year.
I will sign off with a hopeful Happy Pride, a memory that we have been in good places before and that we will be in good places again. That allies are everywhere and that your voices raised with ours become the voices of the majority. The voice of love, affirmation and support.