The UK’s Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, announced a new plan that could take away trans youth’s access to gender-affirming healthcare.
Truss’s move is “one of the most damaging policy moves for trans rights in the UK in recent memory,” according to Ellen Murray, executive director of Transgender Northern Ireland.
Truss, a member of the conservative party, will be putting forth amendments for the 2004 Gender and Recognition Act, which allows trans people to change their gender. She plans to follow “three very important principles”.
“First of all, the protection of single-sex spaces, which is extremely important,” Truss said. “Secondly making sure that transgender adults are free to live their lives as they wish without fear of persecution, while maintaining the proper checks and balances in the system.”
“Finally, which is not a direct issue concerning the Gender Recognition Act, but is relevant, making sure that the under 18s are protected from decisions that they could make, that are irreversible in the future.”
Truss added that she believes adults should have the freedom to “lead their lives as they see fit,” but people who are “still developing their decision-making capabilities” must be protected from those decisions.
The changes to the act could restrict trans youth’s ability to get hormone therapy, which has been shown to lower the risk of suicidal thoughts in trans people when taken pre-puberty. Trans youth in the UK are already unable to get gender confirmation surgery until they turn 18.
“It really reduces the dysphoria and live my life. I’ve got a friend who hasn’t [got hormones], and sometimes he won’t even speak because of how high his voice is. He can’t deal with that,” Alex, a trans man, told iNews.
Truss’s announcement has sparked concern for young trans people as well as their parents and loved ones, who have called them “shocking and distressing.”
“My child has just as much right to body autonomy as a teenager seeking contraception, or an abortion, or rejecting vaccination… all of which can have irreversible consequences,” Helen, a mom with a trans son, told PinkNews.
A review of Truss’s plan is set to happen this summer.