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Blog — Analysis

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Mermaids’ Head of Policy & Research Kai O’Doherty attended a debate on trans-inclusion in a ban on conversion practices this week. Missed it? Here’s what happened – and what might happen next.  What happened? Yesterday (13 June 2022), MPs filled Westminster Hall to debate a public-backed petition calling for the UK Government to reverse its decision to exclude trans and non-binary people from a ban on conversion practices.  It’s been a long road to get to where we are now, with many twists and turns, which you can read about here. After witnessing previous Parliament debates which have descended into…

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The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published its guidance on single sex spaces on 4 April 2022. This is non-statutory ‘guidance’, it is not the law itself.  The key page regarding the inclusion of trans people in single-sex spaces can be found here.  The guidance explains broadly that trans people can only be discriminated against if that is a proportionate way of meeting a legitimate aim, but fails to offer a clear representation as to how high that threshold is. It is unfortunate (considering that this may be used by the general public) that the EHRC doesn’t stress…

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As the consultation period on proposed reforms to the Human Rights Act (HRA) draws to a close, Mermaids’ policy team reflects on the history of the Act and how it has advanced LGBTQIA+ rights in the UK, and looks at how the Government’s plans will restrict protections currently afforded to us all.      What is the Human Rights Act (1998)? The HRA, passed in 1998, incorporated into domestic UK law the fundamental rights and freedoms set out in the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), which everyone in the UK is entitled to. More specifically, the HRA lets you defend those…

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The reforms are a significant step forward for trans rights as fundamentally, they acknowledge that trans people are who they say they are. The current system is unnecessarily bureaucratic, stigmatising and invasive, and consultations in both Scotland and the UK have shown overwhelming public support for change.

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Updates from Day 2 of the Appeal. You can watch the last two days on YouTube here. What the Claimant said (Bell and Mrs A): The claimant said that the process around the assessment of the child’s capacity to consent was not sufficient. Therefore, the claimant argued that the policy and practice permitted or encouraged illegality. If the policy or practice that is followed would lead to unlawful facts or decisions then that policy or practice would be unlawful.  The claimant went through GIDS guidance on obtaining consent and the process of assessing capacity. It stated that the standard operating…

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We welcome the proposal set forward in the Queen’s Speech to ban the horrendous practice that is so-called “conversion therapy”.  We, as LGBTIQ* people, are victim to “conversion therapy” if someone seeks to convert, cancel, cure, or change a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  We call for the Government to publish a full and comprehensive Bill, that bans conversion practices: 1. In all forms, 2. For all LGBTIQ+ people,  3. Of all ages,   4. In all settings. It is vital that all forms of so-called conversion therapy are banned, in all settings including psychological, medical, privately in families…

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The Cass Review has been launched in order to investigate the NHS’s provision for children and young people looking to access gender identity related healthcare. Dr Hilary Cass was appointed in late 2020 to chair this independent review by the NHS. The Review will take around 12 months to complete. Dr Cass has confirmed that this review will be listening to the lived experiences of children, families and clinicians who are involved in gender identity related healthcare. We welcome this news that transgender, non-binary and gender diverse children and young people and their families will be consulted throughout the process…

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NHS England has updated the guidelines it uses around ‘puberty blockers’ for under 16s. It follows a High Court case in late 2020 which effectively stopped trans young people getting vital access to medication without having to go to court first. Then, a High Court case in March, 2021, ruled that young people could get access to puberty blockers as long as they had the support of their parents/guardians and practitioners.  Now, after almost three weeks, NHS England has updated its guidelines to fall into line with the law. Let’s take a look at what’s changed and what it means…

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This blog post is now out of date. Please see this link for the latest information. It is now two weeks since the High Court ruled that parents could consent on their child’s behalf to Puberty Blockers, but still NHSE hasn’t changed its guidance to reflect the law. It is an extraordinary state of affairs for NHS England to be out of kilter with a High Court ruling for such a period of time, especially when we’re dealing with young people already suffering the impact of previous harmful decisions. Decisions which were, if you recall, enacted with blistering rapidity. On…

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This blog post is now out of date. Please see this link for the latest information. We welcome today’s High Court Family Division ruling that parents can consent to their children being prescribed puberty blockers without needing to go to court, and that puberty blockers are not a special category of treatment which has to be authorised by a court order. This is welcome news for those fearing the Keira Bell ruling would prevent them from accessing ‘puberty blockers’. “We feel a huge amount of relief having heard this news. My youngest is 12 and we were told just before…

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