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Thousands protest against Liz Truss’ ‘deadly’ plan to take away healthcare for trans kids: ‘It will kill trans people’

Vic Parsons April 24, 2020
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Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss arrives at Downing Street on 14 February, 2020. (WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Thousands are protesting Tory equalities minister Liz Truss’ comments this week about restricting access to healthcare for transgender youth.

More than 2,000 people have signed a Change.org petition called “Liz Truss statement threatens the future of young transgender individuals. This needs to be stopped”.

“We need to step up now,” says the petition, which was posted yesterday.

“The only way we can do this is by bringing the whole community together to stand against this so I ask you if you are from any country, any background, any religions and if you are or are not a part of the LGBT+ community, we ask you to please help us to stand and fight against this.”

Liz Truss made her statement when she set out her plan for reforming the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) on Wednesday, April 22, at a virtual session of the women and equalities select committee.

She said that the government response to 2018’s comprehensive public consultation on reforming the GRA would follow three “very important principles”, one of which is “making sure that the under 18s are protected from decisions that they could make, that are irreversible in the future”.

“I believe strongly that adults should have the freedom to lead their lives as they see fit, but I think it’s very important that while people are still developing their decision-making capabilities that we protect them from making those irreversible decisions,” Truss added.

Truss’ statement sparked immediate alarm among parents of transgender youth and concern from LGBT+ organisations, and has been interpreted as a direct threat to the currently available healthcare for trans youth in the UK.

Healthcare for trans under 18s is not governed by the GRA.

The fact that Truss, the minister for women and equalities who dislikes “identity politics” and wants to rename the government equalities office the “ministry of freedom“, has conflated trans healthcare with legal gender recognition has been an additional source of concern for the trans community.

“Let me explain in blunt terms that the UK government has announced their intentions to seek legislation that would kill trans people,” tweeted transgender news podcast What The Trans!?.

“This will result in dead children. The pandemic has meant we have all lost something… but during this, a government minister isn’t talking about helping women stuck with abusive partners or why people of colour are dying in much higher numbers.

“She is talking about a policy that will kill people.”

Commenting on Truss’ statement, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said: “Far too many trans and non-binary people do not have their rights and dignity respected.

“Far too many are the victims of discrimination, harassment and hate crimes, and the rates of suicide and self-harm are heart-breaking.

“This Conservative government’s record on trans and non-binary rights is appalling. They promised to reform the Gender Recognition Act two-and-a-half years ago, but have been dragging their feet ever since.

“I’m glad Liz Truss has promised to finally publish the government’s plans on the Gender Recognition reform by the summer. She must not kick this issue into the long grass again, but instead urgently bring forward the vital changes to improve people’s lives.”

More: christine jardine, Conservative Party, gender recognition act, GRA Reform, liz truss, Minister for Women and Equalities, trans healthcare, trans rights, women and equalities select committee

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