Maria Miller: We ‘let ourselves down’ on trans issues
Former Conservative equalities minister Maria Miller has said that the trans people are still being “let down”.
The MP served as Minister for Women and Equalities from 2012 to 2014, overseeing the introduction of same-sex marriage among other reforms.
She now serves as Chair of Parliament’s newly-formed Women and Equalities Select Committee – which is holding a landmark inquiry into trans issues.
The inquiry has heard of issues in the way society deals with trans people – from healthcare to prisons reform, to the bureaucratic system of dealing with gender recognition.
Speaking to Huffington Post UK, Ms Miller said that trans people are being “let down” by the system.
She said: “I think we should be proud as a country, we have done so much to support lesbian, gay and bisexual issues, not only though the Equality Act but through equal marriage.
“Some would say we lead the world in that respect. But when it comes to trans issues we are letting ourselves down.
She added: “There are few events I go to without someone coming up and saying ‘thank you’.
“They don’t really mean to me, they mean to the government of the day for putting in place that piece of legislation.
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“Not because they wanted to get married. Because it gave them a feeling of legitimacy and equality.
“There can be many different ways we can achieve a more equal society, there are messages we send by pieces of legislation that may not directly affect one group, but will embolden and legitimise and give strength to other section of society.”
Among issues on which Ms Miller’s inquiry heard evidence was the concerning state of healthcare provisions for trans issues.
Despite an NHS England target that all patients should be seen within 18 weeks, gender services across the country have been under increasing strain, with backlogs in some areas spanning several years.
A leading NHS gender surgeon warned last year that gender identity backlogs are ‘spiralling out of control’ as the number of referrals outstrip the number of possible appointments.
Despite some action within the NHS to ease the strain, trans campaigners warn that the current system is still approaching crisis point.