Trans rights campaign group Trans Actual, run by trans people for trans people, has released the findings of its latest survey. The survey, which reveals the experiences of trans and gender diverse people living in the UK, sadly makes for sober reading.
The survey, entitled: ‘Trans lives survey 2021: Enduring the UK’s hostile environment’, gathered insights from 697 participants. It shines a spotlight on the disturbing reality faced by many trans and gender diverse people when trying to access Gender Affirming Healthcare (GAH) via the National Health Service.
These findings are shocking but in no way unexpected. They merely put figures to a perilous situation that almost every trans person in the UK is well aware of. Transphobia feels unescapable, whether we’re at home, at work or when we go to the doctor’s – Chay Brown, director of TransActual
Those responding to the survey revealed, when accessing NHS Gender Affirming services, that:
- The overwhelming majority of trans people (98%) do not think that NHS transition related care is completely adequate, with almost half of those (47%) stating that it is “not at all” adequate
- The majority of Black people and people of colour (BPOC) (53%) reported experiencing racism while accessing trans-specific healthcare services
- Almost two thirds (60%) of disabled people reported experiencing ableism when accessing trans-specific healthcare
- Almost half (40%) felt that lack of access to NHS transition related care has impacted them ‘very much’, with only 12% of respondents saying it had not impacted them at all
The results also revealed, when accessing general non trans-specific NHS primary care healthcare services, that:
- A significant number (14%) reported that their GP had refused to provide care or treatment on account of their trans status at least once
- Almost half (45%) of trans respondents said that their GP did not have a good understanding of their needs as a trans person, with over half (55%) of non-binary people reporting similar issues
- When accessing general healthcare services, over two thirds (70%) reported being impacted by transphobia
- Over half (57%) reported avoiding going to the doctor when unwell
- Almost a third (29%) reported having been refused care from the gender or sex-specific NHS services they needed, because they are trans
The results of the survey show the extent to which the healthcare needs of trans and gender diverse people are misunderstood by far too many healthcare professionals. It also reveals that this lack of awareness, and often willingness to understand, significantly impacts trans people when they try to access general healthcare and trans-specific healthcare – insights which combine to make this report essential reading for anyone working in healthcare or responsible for healthcare policy.
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