Changing Times, Challenging Times; #TransLivesNE Conference
May the 24th sees the first large scale Trans Health and Social care conference taking place in the North East of England. Study after study has shown that the outcomes and experiences of trans people are impacted by how society treats them, and by institutional and structural transphobia. 40 % of trans people have been discriminated against at work. 46% have hidden their trans identity whilst looking for a job. A staggering 84% of trans people have experienced suicidal ideation, and 48% have attempted suicide. Be: Trans Support and Development is currently undertaking the largest study of the trans experience of NHS services in the North East, to be released later this year. Preliminary results show 53.4 % of respondents were unable to say they felt that staff understood and respected their identity and 49% reported being misgendered by an NHS member of staff.
Behind these numbers lie people, lives, human beings who are simply trying to live and be themselves. As the Parliamentary Women and Equalities Inquiry found last year
“High levels of transphobia are experienced by individuals on a daily basis. This is a very serious problem in a wide range of settings, and can undermine careers, incomes, living standards, access to services, quality of life, and physical and mental health. It is a sobering and distressing fact that disproportionately high numbers of trans people have reported attempting suicide.”
The report of the committee highlighted that it was not just transphobia experienced at an individual level which is the issue, but that organisations, including the criminal justice system, the NHS and others were failing to even meet their basic duties under the Equalities Act of 2010
With this in mind, we and our public sector partners have been instrumental in organising the conference on the 24th. Change is no doubt needed, and needs to be real, and visible, throughout organisations. This means that those who commission and lead services have to understand the barriers which currently exclude trans people from full participation in all areas of civic life.
The day will include keynote speeches from our Managing Director Tara Stone, and Rebecca Stinson Head of Trans Inclusion at Stonewall. This reflects one of our core values, that trans people should be at the forefront, taking the lead, in discussions, training, development and change. Indeed, it is the case that there should be nothing about us, without us. If the object of discrimination is not in the room, work often becomes talking about a problem, and seeing trans people as a problem to be solved rather than people to be listened too.
There will be workshops looking at inclusive workplaces, training development and delivery, building Trans Inclusive services, and working with trans young people. This will be a unique opportunity to look at how positive change can be made, with honest reflection on how, and where things currently stand. Giving organisations the opportunity to share best practice in a positive and reflective way.
These are indeed challenging, and changing times. More and more gender diverse people are coming forward, and all research shows it will be an ever increasing demographic. Current structures and attitudes have been shown to be falling short. There cannot be complacency around the exclusion and marginalisation many trans people face, and it is only with genuine understanding real change will be enacted.
We look forward to the 24th, not as an endpoint, but as the start for better futures for all trans people in the North East. You will be able to follow the day on twitter on the hashtag #TransLivesNE and live streaming will be available. It is a day to mark in your diaries, and one which will bring positive change to the lives of people across the North East, and beyond.