The home secretary has backed the health secretary’s statement despite there being no evidence of complaints about trans people

BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY JSME MILA VIA PEXELS

One day, I hope that articles such as this one will not need to be written. But unfortunately, we are living in an alarming time of anti-trans laws and rhetoric. In a world where trans people are all too often let down when it comes to healthcare, now, health secretary Steve Barclay has announced a proposal that will see trans women banned from female NHS wards. His proposal will also see gender neutral language removed from the NHS constitution and he claimed that the Tories “know what a woman is“.

In his conference speech, he vowed to restore “common sense” to the health service and recognise “the importance of biological sex in healthcare”. While the focus of the conversation was on trans women, the announced changes will impact both trans women and trans men’s ability to access spaces aligned with their gender.

Openly trans Conservative MP, Jamie Wallis, has lashed out at the health secretary and urged him to solve problems “which actually exist” and also stated there was “no evidence of even a single complaint bout the presence of trans women in particular spaces”. The MP also cited freedom of information requests submitted to 102 NHS Foundation Trusts across the UK last year that asked whether there were any complaints from “biologically female” inpatients about trans patients’ presence. No evidence of complaints were found, and the investigation can be found on the TransLucent website.

As if this wasn’t all infuriating enough, home secretary Suella Braverman has backed Steve’s proposal. Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday 3 October, she stated that: “Trans women have no place in women’s wards or, indeed, any safe space relating to biological women.”

The home secretary used the term “biological men” to describe transgender women, stating: “The health secretary’s absolutely right to clarify and make it clear that biological men should not have treatment in the same wards and in the same safe spaces as biological women.”

Suella’s comments are not the only anti-LGBTQIA ones she has made recently. She has stated that homophobic discrimination is not a good enough reason to claim asylum and doubled down on her comments by saying that queer refugees “game” the asylum system with false claims. Her disturbing comments about LGBTQIA asylum seekers sparked protests in London.

Amid our current culture war, politicians and a lot of the media constantly pit trans women against cisgender women. This is despite the fact that there is no shortage of urgent struggles that we must combat such as the cost-of-living crisis, the climate crisis and the impact of over a decade of austerity, to name just a few. And yet, “the trans debate” is given such a huge focus. The trans community is constantly used as a scapegoat and mode of distraction, even though we make up such a small percentage of the population. We must all stand together to tackle the very real issues that face our society.

Trans model, editor and activist, Munroe Bergdorf, addressed the health secretary’s proposal on Instagram, writing: “…Everything that needs to be said about this UK government has been said before, to the point of absolute exhaustion‚Ķ To the point where, for so many of us, it feels futile to continue shouting about the environment of violence towards trans people, that they are both creating and exacerbating. I‚Äôm frustrated, angry and sad at the state of this country. That so many people are failing to see what links us as human beings, instead, opting to participate in a baseless moral panic that has been played out so many times before, by government leaders and media institutions seeking authoritarian power and control. My hope is that with each instance of this violence, that will no doubt increase in the lead up to the general election, more people begin to exercise their empathy and compassion for those being affected by the decisions of an increasingly fascist cabinet – and turn it into action at the polls…”

@niccrosara

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