The transgender community in Bournemouth has urged the government to implement long-overdue reforms after a recent Parliament debate on trans issues.
The debate revealed that the sufferings of the transgender community may be entirely due to outdated legislation.
Given Bournemouth’s significant LGBT community, this debate may have wide ramifications for transgender people in the local area.
Trans man Neil* said: “I think the government is too stuck up and should stop dragging its feet on this. Transgender people are as important as anyone else.”
‘Had to see seven psychiatrists’
Most of the problems facing the transgender community stem from the Gender Recognition Certificate, which allows a trans person to ‘officially’ change their gender after convincing a panel of their intentions.
Local transgender woman Lisa* says this is inherently flawed. “I had to see seven different psychiatrists before I could make my case to the panel. Having to convince someone that you want to be yourself is crazy.”
Transgender people in Bournemouth also have to go through many more hoops. The nearest Gender Identity Clinic (GIC), with trans-specific healthcare, is a three hour train ride away in Exeter, with waiting periods of 34 weeks (on average) for an appointment.
‘There is a long way to go’
Even though such evidence was presented, the government was non-committal towards the end of the debate, planning to put changes ‘under review’ with no firm dates.
Mandy Nicholson, counsellor for mental health charity Dorset Mind, thinks there is a long way to go. “I think the government could be, and should be, doing more. It will take a long time for LGBT people to be fully recognized both by society and government.”
To foster this, Dorset Mind are running a Wellbeing in Mind course all over Dorset, including in Bournemouth, to induce better cohesion in the local community for LGBT people.
Dorset Mind hopes the debate is the stepping stone for such cohesion nation-wide.