Tag Archives: Trans

LGBT Youth Awareness Training

LGBT Youth Awareness Training Workshop May2014Friday 9th May 2014: 2-5pm at the ELOP Centre
Cost £30 per person

Sexual orientation and gender identity are two of the protected characteristics specified in The Equality Act (2010) as minority groups at elevated risk of experiencing many health inequalities and discrimination. Ensure your organisation and staff are LGB&T aware by accessing ELOP’s multidisciplinary LGBT Youth Awareness Training.

ELOP Booking Form – LGBT Youth Awareness Training Workshop May2014<
ELOP – LGBT Youth Awareness Training Workshop May2014

New role at cliniQ

In the last month I have officially joined the team at cliniQ in Soho, to help provide sexual health and wellbeing services to the trans* communities, their friends, families and significant others. Running from 56 Dean Street on a Wednesday evening (5.30 – 7.30), cliniQ works in partnership with a range of organisations (such as London Friend and GALOP) to provide safe, reliable support services for trans* people as well as clinical sexual health services, cervical screening and liver function tests.

The clinic is run by and with trans* people, working with trans* aware clinicians who offer discreet, respectful services; working from a model that should be replicated throughout health and wellbeing services. I genuinely couldn’t be happier to be involved with the organisation. 

Check out North London’s incredible trans* and queer friendly service Open Barbers


Open Barbers is a queer and trans* friendly haircutting service in North London offering wicked haircuts and an inclusive atmosphere. Here is their manifesto:

“Open Barbers is a hairdressing service for all genders and sexualities led by Greygory, Klara, Felix and Clancey.

Who we are and what we do:

We offer a personalised and warm haircutting experience with a queer and trans friendly attitude. We seek to promote the diversity of identities in society and celebrate people’s appearance in the way they wish to be seen.

Open Barbers started in March 2011, building on hairdressing skills and experience developed by Greygory and Klara over the last decade. Open Barbers has already participated in several events including Latitude Festival, Schmoozing For Art with artist Brian Lobel and the Jewish Community Centre, Bar Wotever, Queer Fayre and House of Stars. The experience has been extremely well received creating a thriving mailing list and online interaction from Open Barbers clients. An interview with Open Barbers features in Dapper Q online magazine celebrating our new initiative, bringing international acclaim to our diverse approach.

Contact us:

If you are interested in coming along or making an appointment, please contact us at openbarbers@gmail.com”

Further NHS England Twitter Clubs

Following the amazing success of the recent consultations by NHS England, the following twitter clubs will be taking place:

Tuesday 17 December 1 pm- Minorities within the trans* community (for example intersex, people with disabilities, people from ethnic minorities etc)
Thursday 19 December 8 pm- Children and young trans* people
Wednesday 8 January 1 o clock- Older trans* people
Tuesday 14 January 6 o clock- wrap-up session: any issues not covered so far.

These targeted sessions aim to address specific issues for trans* people in terms of their experience of and barriers to services, whether it be GICs or general health services. Having discussed the sessions with the NHS England team, I feel really positive about the data from these sessions actually being recorded and put to good use. So, please get involved, have your say

Hashtag: #NHSGenderID

#NHSGenderID – NHS England host Gender Identity twitter clubs to improve services

Here’s the deal, the NHS and the Department of Health know they have it wrong in terms of supporting gender variant people and by their own admission, are not sure how to get it right. Recently, they seem to have come to a groundbreaking solution – “Why don’t we ask trans* people what they think?”

This is happening, now.. Today in fact! NHS England are hosting a series of twitter clubs using the hashtag #NHSGenderId:

•Friday 15 November 4 pm, focusing on Trans women
•Wednesday 20 November 12 pm, focusing on Trans men
•Tuesday 26 November 8 pm, focusing on Trans* & non-binary trans people
Suggested topics for consideration are as follows:
–What works well in the gender identity services?
–What are the gaps? How can they be addressed?
–What does good look like?
–How can we make a difference to people’s lives?
Please get involved, be engaged and be honest.. I feel like these topics are going to invite a lot of anger (and rightly so), but constructive criticism and suggested solutions will be so, so valuable!

What does Trans* Friendly look like?

We had two really great discussions at the Evolve trans* youth group this month. First off, we talked about the things that friends, family, MAP staff and doctors could do to be really good allies for trans* people.


Here’s what the young people came up with:

  • Good allies would stand up for you when other people are being unpleasant or abusive. We also talked about how just staying with you when abuse is occurring can be really powerful.
  • Good allies would not ask intrusive questions about your identity, your genitals or any other aspects of your trans* experience
  • They would be open and receptive and have a willingness to learn about how to understand trans* people’s lives
  • They wouldn’t be judgmental
  • Good allies would have a positive approach and would not be ashamed to be seen with you or be ashamed of people knowing you are trans*
  • They wouldn’t treat you any different from how they did before you came out, except they would use the name, pronouns you prefer and would respect your identity
  • They would ask how you would like to be treated e.g. What pronouns do you want to use?
  • They wouldn’t make negative comments about your body or gender presentation e.g. your body looks weird, you should wear your hair a certain way etc.
  • Good allies would be willing to challenge peoples negative attitudes and misconceptions

Our second discussion was about what trans*-friendly services should look like.

This is what we think:

  • Gender neutral bathrooms are essential
  • It can help if there is diversity within the staff, ideally someone from an LGBT background who can relate to the stress and anxiety of the coming out process
  • Trans* friendly spaces should be accessible for ALL trans* people, which includes cultural sensitive services, wheelchair access etc
  • Positive images of trans* people should be on show
  • Trans* friendly spaces should deliver on their promises of being trans* friendly and should always consult trans* people themselves on how to do this
  • Any forms that needed to be filled out should be inclusive, not just male and female tick boxes
  • The service should have workers that respect trans* identities, who do not just stick to the binary model
  • Trans* friendly services should have a sense of humour!
  • An awareness of confidentiality
  • Safe spaces to change clothes etc.

Classifying Sex: Debating DSM-5

ImageLast week, I had the pleasure of attending the Classifying Sex: Debating DSM-5 conference at the Center for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at Cambridge University.

It was a fascinating multidisciplinary event, which brought together social and political scientists, feminist scholars and mental health practitioners to discuss the implications of the most recent revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The conference mainly concerned categories of sexuality and identity defined within DSM-5, and the ways in which they are considered to be ‘normal, ‘abnormal’ or ‘pathological’.

Certainly, I have been to few conferences which have invited speakers from such varied backgrounds, and never before one which invited so much disagreement, heckling and large scale exiting of the seminar room!

Although, most people reading this blog would expect the latter to be the fault of American psychologist, Ken Zucker, it was actually Patricia Crittenden of the Family Relations Institute, Miami who was the cause of much audible laughter (and of many people taking an early lunch).

Crittenden’s talk entitled “The Functions of Sexual and Reproductive Behaviour; Short and Long-term Adaption and Maladaption” was outdated, heterosexist, ethically questionable and at times, as we could all hear – just plain laughable.

By opening her paper with the statement “all sex is about babies” she successfully managed to alienate approximately 99% of the room (the other 1% being Ken Zucker) within the first five minutes of the nonsensical hour she had been allotted. An hour made up of “research” concerning scales of human sexual arousal (which interestingly, had death at either end) and video footage of “consenting” service users’ interactions with their children – service users who are currently involved in legal battle for custody of said offspring.

I am hard pressed to isolate one particular element which I found the most offensive, but if really pushed it would have to be the point where Crittenden, when discussing the higher rates of rape and sexual assault during wartime, argued that the increased frequency was because soldiers, when faced with the threat of impending death tend to think to themselves “Hey! Best leave some sperm behind” – which, unfortunately is a direct quote. There was no mention of power, retribution etc. No, apparently rape is only ever about reproduction, too.

The rest of the conference, aside from some slightly tense discussions with both Ken Zucker and Alain Giami (who argued for homosexuality’s return to DSM) included a fantastic presentation from Lisa Downing entitled Sorting the Acceptable from the Unacceptable: Defining the Pathological in Classic Sexological Perversion Theory and DSM5’s Paraphilia Diagnoses and Zowie Davy’s discussion Will It Make A Difference or Is It Just Semantics: Diagnosing Trans People in DSM 5.

Overall the conference was challenging, engaging and incredibly well balanced, as well as a fantastic opportunity for networking.. and I would seriously recommend seeking out Lisa Downing’s work to anyone. However, unsurprisingly I might not endorse Zucker or Crittenden in the same way.