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Posted On: 22nd Feb 2017

A Generation in Transition

Alex Jones, Jayson McSwiggan and Caroline Dinenage MP

Two young trans campaigners from Fixers took their concerns about how society supports people experiencing gender dysphoria straight to the heart of Parliament.

 

Alex Jones and Jayson McSwiggan handed the report to Caroline Dinenage MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women, Equalities and Early Years at Westminster on Tuesday, February 21.

 

The report, entitled Feel Happy with My Gender Fix: A Generation in Transition, highlights 15 key recommendations from young people for how government, health services, schools and communities can improve the lives of transgender youth.

 

To read more about the Feel Happy with My Gender Fix, click here.

 

Young trans people feel increasingly isolated from institutions and those in authority – whether in health, education or the work place, according to the research.

 

Alex, 19, from Newport, Wales, said that his GP did not know how to refer him to a gender identity clinic, which would have offered him specialist knowledge and support.

 

He says: ‘When I told my GP that I was experiencing gender dysphoria at the age of 15, they didn’t know what I meant.

 

‘I had to inform them. Then they asked me a series of questions which made me feel like I was at a job interview.

 

‘I felt like I had to tick boxes to get to the next stage, which was to see a psychiatrist on the NHS through Child Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

 

‘I waited and waited, but in the end I decided to go private because it was all taking so long. I’m finally due to start hormones in May this year.

 

‘GPs need more training on transgender issues. There needs to be step-by-step communication throughout the gender transition process; from your GP, to CAHMs and right through to surgery.’

 

 

Jayson, 21, from Glasglow, told the Minister: ‘I think it should be mandatory that all GPS get training on trans issues. They are the first health professionals we go to see. If they don't understand us, what chance have we got of progressing well?

 

‘I was quite lucky with my experience. I was the first trans person my doctor had had as a patient and he was quite excited because he was learning something new.

 

‘But I know a lot of people are not as fortunate to see a GP who is understanding, if not experienced. And I don't think I shouldn't feel lucky. It should be the norm that you go to your GP and they appreciate what you are telling them about trans issues.

 

‘I am especially concerned about younger people than me. How are they going to have the confidence to deal with a GP who might lack understanding? How is it going to impact on them if GPs are not clued up and have no training.’

 

157 young people aged between 16 and 25 experiencing gender dysphoria were surveyed by the charity.

 

47% claimed GPs did not understand them as a trans person, 44% said their GPs were not helpful and only 17% could rely on their GP for support.

 

In the school environment, 72% identified the lack of knowledge and training amongst teachers about gender identity as worsening their education experience as a trans young person.

 

The report, which was supported by the Wellcome Trust, outlines 15 recommendations to improve the lives of young trans people, including:

 

  • Greater inclusion of gender identity issues in sex education and relationship classes
  • PGCE teacher training on gender identity issues
  • Increasing the availability of expert, supportive advice for trans people on the NHS
  • Encouraging health practitioners to implement best practices for supporting trans people at their first point of contact

 

Minister for Women, Equalities and Early Years, Caroline Dinenage said:

 

‘It is really important that we support young people who identify as transgender. NHS England has invested an extra £2.2 million in gender identity services for young people this year, with further investment to come next, and new guidance has been given to GPs on how to treat transgender patients to make sure they are supported. I really enjoyed meeting with Fixers and hearing the views of young people about how we can make the UK a place that works for transgender people.’  

 

 To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.

 

 

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