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Several months ago, way before the Coronavirus pandemic, Stonewall gave a call out for trans people to participate in a National Lottery funded project called Transforming Futures.

So I signed up for a workshop.…
Stonewall plans to interview about 350 trans people in England to identify the big issues in healthcare and the criminal justice system. The preliminary report will be published on their website later this year.
It had been funded with £500K from the National Lottery and would also serve to benefit smaller trans organisations, like Mermaids, Sparkle, CliniQ, etc. The project is ongoing for the next five years.
Present at the workshop for Stonewall were:
Kirrin, Head of Trans Inclusion, Stonewall
Pronouns: they/them, he/him

Note taker, Stonewall TRA
Pronouns: she/her

A therapist to deal with any wobblies (who I also happen to know is a Gendered Intelligence trainer)
Pronouns: he/him
The participants:
A trans-identified man
Pronouns: she/her, they/them
I’ll call him Dave.

A trans-identified woman
Pronouns: he/him, they/them.
I’ll call her Sue.

And me, a non-binary
Pronouns: they/them (said with straight face)
It struck me we, the participants, were equal in number to Stonewall staff, and thus the controls were set. The note taker spoke at the start to introduce himself but for the rest of the event he was there lurking, apparently minuting the discussions, his presence felt.
First there was a long spiel that it would be a safe space and that if anyone at any point needed emergency assistance the therapist was available to deal with any personal issues in a separate online breakout room.
If it was thought we might self-harm the appropriate authorities would be called. (Shush, this is serious)

Messages from the therapist were sent repeatedly to us throughout the meeting reminding us of the ever ready break out room available.
As it turned out no one was remotely traumatised.

The first topic for discussion was healthcare.
Dave’s main issue was the ‘gatekeeping' by the gender identity clinics (GIC). His experience of GIC was disempowering and uncomfortable.

Initially he saw someone privately to get oestrogen and thereafter his GP was prepared to prescribe after the private doctor had written the
first prescription.

Sue has still not been seen by a GIC despite a 2 year wait. She had also gone to a private doctor to get testosterone. The GP surgery was not prepared to prescribe hormones for gender dysphoria. Her private doctor was overwhelmed by requests.
I whinged about how I didn’t feel that my GP would recognise my non-binary identity and that this was literally stopping me from accessing healthcare, I hadn’t had any healthcare needs recently, so hadn’t actually *been* to the GP to verify that this was the situation …
… nevertheless the important thing was that I had the *feeling* of being discriminated against.

Dave, who also partly IDs as NB, agreed with me that GPs didn’t understand beyond the binary. When he went to the GP to discuss his gender dysphoria the
fact that they didn’t mention NB identities meant it didn’t give him any agency and that they ‘didn’t care to a scary amount’.

Sue was sick of being the only trans person anyone had met in their life and asked how much cognitive dissonance you had to have to describe her a woman
Sue was seeking a hysterectomy for medical reasons (though surely this must have been made worse by T-use).

Both were deeply concerned that their GPs and other health professionals had taken an interest in noting that they appeared to be taking care of themselves (as if this
was an unusual thing for a GP to note).

It was agreed that trans people who were affected by autism and ADHD had a more difficult time accessing hormones, since they would be more likely not to be able to behave according to social norms.
Dave is a pt of a well known doctor in the field. His doctor has asked supposedly invasive questions about his past medical history and this ‘othered’ him.
Sue was outraged that she had been asked ‘aren’t you simply a butch lesbian?’ and Kirrin concurred ‘as if you wouldn’t have thought of that already’.
Next section was ideas we had to improve things, in which Kirrin drew lots of pointless and stupid ‘mind maps’ documenting the discussion, and served as a reminder to me that the discussion was also being separately noted.
With my NB hat on, I suggested that pronouns should literally be made available in databases for trans and non-binary people, because if we can’t record us then we won’t exist (I first heard this idea from a Stonewall bod, so wasn’t giving them any new ideas, promise).
Sue said that sex had to be separate from gender, and that people really shouldn’t be receiving reminders for gynae appointments if it didn’t apply to them and it makes it difficult to book the right appointments if you are recorded as the opposite sex.
We need to consider variability of bodies, not every TM or woman’s body has a cervix, etc.

Dave said that the binary wasn’t helpful for intersex people and that we know now that there is no such thing as binary sex dimorphism.
It was agreed that GPs needed more diversity training on how to be ‘respectful’ - disability training is done, so why not trans?

It was also queried whether the NHS does diversity training with regards to ethnicity and that it should be
made the foundation of training in the NHS, as it is difficult to unlearn prejudice.

(The Civil Service and NHS have had mandatory equality training since at least the Lawrence Inquiry - the Stonewall bod must surely know this and should have intervened to point this out,
especially since Stonewall is delivering so much training in this sector).

The media fixation on trans kids over the last year has had a knock-on MH effect on trans people.

One reported a very positive experience of a trans-led health project, because it meant they didn’t
have to deal with cis people or doctors who think they are of a higher social status.

It was questioned why any of it needed to be done through the GIC at all and that endocrinologists should be able to do the hormone checks.
Kirrin asked what would make endocrinologists less scared? (i.e. taking away decision-making from GICs was the real point)

Sue then related some rather complicated health issues, which sounded like continued treatment with cross sex hormones were only going to make worse.
I made the suggestion that all GP surgeries should carry the trans flag so that trans people know they can access those places without being scared (I know, I know, I felt really bad about saying these things 😂)
and that there should be a national policy on treating trans people that all GPs follow (although I was really getting into the swing of things).

Getting access to treatment was a postcode lottery and that treatment shouldn’t be denied on an arbitrary measure.
Pts in rural areas might only have the option of one GP practice.

Sue then got very exasperated and complained that when you make a complaint that there was nowhere to go. You never know who to turn to. But then mentioned PALs (every NHS Trust has one) thereby admitting that
she knew *exactly* where to go.

People don’t come back to you, Sue complained (no they don’t come back to *you*, Sue).

Joking aside this is bullshit because all PALS offices will come back to you, they have to, although they might not tell you want you want to hear.
At the closure of the conversation about healthcare, no one had mentioned CV19, the impact it might be having on the trans community, or others, or the impact that it would have on the NHS long term, esp. financially.

It’s like we were literally in a vacuum.
The second conversation was about Criminal Justice.
Kirrin was happy to discuss any aspect of it from hate crimes, border control, prisons, etc. More pointless mind maps was drawn.
Dave had two experiences he wanted to share.
As he had begun to transition and was becoming more trans-feminine in appearance he had been harassed more.
Firstly was the strange incident of being followed around by a man in a shop. He left immediately and paid for his shopping (which means he didn’t really leave immediately).

He didn’t want to contact the police for political reasons (wait until you hear why *that* was).
Secondly he loves travelling but there’s a problem in that his passport says he is male.

It made him wonder whether ‘Am I pretending to be a boy?’
Dave often wonder what things must have been like for the gay community back in the day. The police have done no real work dismantling those violent histories …. and his voice tailed off soundly slightly weepy.
Sue knew a cross dresser who had been beaten up years ago very badly. He’d reported it to the police, who had responded ‘what do you expect if you go dressed out like that?’
Kirrin wanted to know if that had put *Sue* off reporting crime hearing that story, and I got an inkling that already features in the draft report.

Sue said ‘not really’ and that hate was mostly directed at TW than TM, which caused Dave to give out a little pleasurable sigh.
However, Sue was worried about what might happen if she came out to the wrong person (presumably they might turn into an axe wielding maniac).

She was also concerned that as she progressed through transition,
her and her partner would began to be perceived as a same sex male couple and was anticipating problems with that (ooh what an exciting journey).
It was agreed it was very toxic out there, and you had no idea if a police officer would be sympathetic or not.

Yep, no idea at all
Kirrin suggested that most people don’t know what their rights are.

Dave returned to his story about the man who followed him. He explained that he wouldn’t want to report an incident like that because - get this - they might be a marginalised person, like a black person, who
the police might persecute and that reinforcing violence against that person might not be the best solution.

It might also have the net negative effect that the person might be made more transphobic if they were confronted about their behaviour.
Kirrin responded this was a very interesting idea, that not reporting crime might make trans people safer.

Yes, said Dave, let’s break the negative feedback cycle.

Sue agreed and said that it will always feed into transphobia and she was always ‘having to be the archetype’.
Also positivity about trans people was very fleeting and that it was a source of anger for other people. Most transphobia arose from feelings that trans people were an unknown quantity.
Dave said that visibility has repercussions. People don’t realise it but they may have met a lot of trans people. ‘I’m not a rare commodity’ said Dave. And that ‘cis’ people ‘probably hadn’t met many’.

Though Dave’s alternative version to this was ‘we are everywhere’.
Sue said that kids were very accepting of trans people and that education was key. Once she was asked by a kid ‘are you a boy or a girl?’ There is a TW who works in the local shop. No one asks why she has a deep voice. Unlearning prejudice is incredibly difficult.
Dave returned to his fictitious stalker and mused over his 'white privilege' over that person.

Kirrin - what can we do to help that hurt person?

Dave said he thought therapy might help. Though even he thought having a 1-2-1 meeting might be a bit much on the victim.
At this point the conversation had been going on for more than 2 hours.

Dave thought there should be a separate body from the police to sort out offenders who had MH problems.

Kirrin asked if people had any more ideas, or any other areas that needed to be covered?
Dave returned to the issue of gender markers on passports and said that they didn’t need to have them at all because it was very stressful for him.

Sue agreed and said that your biological sex is only relevant to you, your partner and your doctor, and that now passports have
biometrics there was no need to record further information.

Also when being searched by security at airports one really needs it to be gender neutral and that it was ‘completely irrelevant’ to have the same sex person do the searches.
Kirrin said that it was only relatively recently that passports even carried gender markers.

Dave has friends who have gone through the criminal justice system and that CJ is all part of the same power structure, like health, which oppresses people.
Kirrin bought up the issue of prisons and and said that even if a trans person has a GRC they can’t get into the prison which most closely resembles their gender marker for several years

This, as we know, is totally untrue, there are men without GRCs in prison with women,
who have also not had surgery or hormone treatment, who have more or less been transferred direct into female estates and who presence it seems cannot be contested.

I also thought the phrase ‘most closely resembles their gender marker’ was very interesting.
So which gender marker would NB most closely fit then?

Dave said that trans people in immigration centres faced a more precarious situation than others. Pronouns don’t make no difference there and it was ‘another kind of death’.
Kirrin promised us an Amazon voucher and if we had ‘political problems’ with Amazon an alternative would be arranged. It turned out no one did!

A reminder of the corporate support Stonewall has.
@threadreaderapp please unroll
A lot of people are commenting about the size of the workshop. Just to be clear, this was one workshop among many that they were holding. I suspect that they wanted small numbers in each workshop to ensure that people were inhibited to divert from the Stonewall narrative.
Or perhaps the numbers just aren't there? In any case the project is now closed so presumably they reached close to their target.

But it is true that 500K is a lot of money based on the opinions of just 350 people, especially when a financial reward is involved.
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