Victimizing transgender people will not fix the NHS

The NHS has arguably never been in a worse state, and it seems the best solution the government can offer is to ban transgender women from being on female NHS wards.

Over the last three years so many pressures have been pilled onto our national health service that staff members have resorted to using food banks, operations and clinics waiting lists have hit record highs and health professionals have resulted to using strike action just so they can be paid a sufficient wage.

a woman with a face mask holding a sign

In spite of all of this, the government have decided to turn a blind eye to the crisis the NHS is actually facing, and is instead choosing to whip up unnecessary hatred towards a group of people who just want to live comfortably.

During the conservative political party conference, health secretary Steve Barclay announced plans to ban transgender women from female NHS wards. Within his speech, which was delivered in Manchester, Mr Barclay stated this act would restore ‘common sense’ to the health service and recognise ‘the importance of biological sex in healthcare’.

However, recent backlash – especially from the LGBTQ+ community – has shown he couldn’t be further from the truth. Research that was obtained by the TransLucent website, which submitted freedom of information requests to 102 NHS Foundation Trusts, found no women had complained about sharing a ward with a trans woman.

In addition, Britain’s first openly transgender MP, Jamie Wallis, lashed out against his own party. Mr Wallis stated the government need to address issues ‘which actually exist’.

He added that there was ‘no evidence of even a single complaint about the presence of trans women in particular spaces’.

Mr Barclay also delivered his speech on the second day of the biggest industrial action the NHS had ever seen but made no comment on how poorly staff members are paid.

Despite members of the conservative party openly disagreeing with Steve Barclays plans, the Prime Minister’s closing speech at the conference further sparked outrage as he continued to drag transgender rights through the mud.

Rishi Sunak said: ‘It shouldn’t be controversial for parents to know what their children are being taught in school and relationships, patients should know when hospitals are talking about men or women.

‘And we shouldn’t get bullied into believing that people can be any sex they want to be. They can’t, a man is a man and a woman is a woman. That’s just common sense.’

Following this, Chris Northwood, Manchester’s first trans councillor, who represents Ancoats and Beswick ward, has accused Rishi Sunak of stoking up a culture war. Cllr Northwood said: ‘With the NHS in freefall, the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and people worried about affording energy bills again this winter, you’d hope the leader of this country had better things to do than stock up a culture war against trans people like myself.’

On a similar wavelength the British Medical Association (BMA) said the plans were not ‘common sense’, but a ‘distraction from serious NHS problems’ which could ‘incite discrimination and harassment of transgender and non-binary patients’.

‘All patients deserve dignity and access to healthcare, which includes having their identity respected,’ said Phil Banfield, BMA council chair professor.

Phil added: ‘Hospital trusts should not follow unlawful guidance, and this is another, frustrating, example of the government’s refusal to listen to and value the views and opinions of those who work within the NHS.’

Images: Karollyne Videira Hubert and Alexander Grey

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