Saturday, 4 February 2017

Hate is taught by parents, it is not innate

I would like to repost a news item that Susie Green of Mermaids gave me permission to repost. The report made me so angry, yet at the same time, devastatingly sad

"Four days ago a Mermaids Mum was called into school to collect her daughter as she was upset. She is 12 years old. She is transgender. Another child had scribbled tranny and freak and pictures of penises all over her exercise book. A week before, a year 11 boy had walked up to her and told her that he was going to take her into the gym and beat her up and that he was allowed to do this as she was a boy not a girl. 3 days ago, another pupil took a BB gun into school and shot her. She was lucky that it didn't hit her face. Police are involved.
I don't think that I would be off the mark to point at negative publicity and anti trans rants as a factor here. Why is it acceptable to deny someone the right to be themselves? Why is it acceptable to attack someone because they are living authentically? Who else does this hurt? And why is it anyone else's business?The most recent study from WPATH shows disturbing evidence of abuse and violence against transgender people. I am both furious and immensely sad, she is 12 years old.
What is wrong with people?"


Behaviour like this is not innate, it is taught - taught by parents that it is OK to bully, ridicule and harass others who are slightly different than themselves.
Bringing a BB gun into school should result in the suspension or even expulsion of the child concerned - and whoever gave this dangerous weapon to a child and allowed them to take it to school with them - obviously the parent, so they too should be punished (probably more so than the child).
Why, I ask myself, is it not surprising that incidents of this type always increase after negative media reporting as has happened recently after the BBC2 program and the (expected) outrageous media reporting in apologies for newspapers like the Mail and the Sun. I really do despair at the actions of people who have no knowledge and who do not wish to avail themselves of knowledge but willingly take in all the hate that they are spoonfed by the likes of Paul Dacre and Murdock.

 Those who espouse and promulgate hate and misunderstanding and who have absolutely no idea or experience of being trans need to be held to account over the resultant hate crimes that follow on from their own small minded and petty hatred of anything or anybody who is different to themselves.

Just one question "How would you react if this was your child that this had happened to"? 


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

New Register of Trans Friendly Doctors and GP's

We have discontinued our old way of creating a register of trans friendly doctors and GP's by means of a survey and then the laboriously task of recreating all the data from a new entry in the survey into an InDesign file which is then converted into a PDF file which is then uploaded via FTP to our server.

We are now doing it via an interactive web page whereby you can search for a trans friendly doctor or GP by name, region, town or postcode (or a combination of all 4) and have the results presented to you either in name order or by highest or lowest ranked GP's. We have retained all the previous submissions so you will not have to submit your previous reviews.

The register is now live at: http://transfigurations.org.uk/trans-friendly-doctors/

Here is a preview of what the page looks like:-

Friday, 27 November 2015

Exeter 'Reclaim the Night' March

Women Unite to Reclaim the Night - Exeter 2015
Last night (Thursday 26th November 2015) saw four major feminist groups in Exeter combine to put on the largest Reclaim the Night march since they started in Exeter.  Devon Rape Crisis Service, SAFE, Exeter Feminists and the University Femsoc all came together to stage the event and well over 300 people joined the march through the streets of Exeter to raise awareness of how frightening and intimidating it can be for women to be out after dark.

It is really quite appalling that in this day and age of supposed equality that women are fearful of sexual abuse just by going out after darkness falls.

A few of the marchers
The Reclaim The Night marches started in the UK on the 12th November 1977, when torch-lit marches were held across England in Leeds, York, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, Brighton and London. They were called by the Leeds Revolutionary Feminist Group, who were inspired by news of co-ordinated women-only ‘Take Back The Night’ marches against sexual harassment, held across towns and cities in West Germany on the 30th April 1977. These were reviewed in the UK Women’s Liberation Movement magazine Spare Rib and titled ‘Germany: Women Reclaim The Night’ (Issue 61). In America the marches are known as ‘Take Back The Night’ and the first formal march with this title was held in San Francisco in 1978. Reportedly, the first ever ‘Reclaim The Night’ march with that title was held in Rome in 1976 to protest against a rise in reported rapes.

Although the original marches were women only marches, latterly men have been allowed to join in the marches to show their solidarity with women - and it was heartening to see so many men amongst the marchers in Exeter last night.

Here is the slideshow video of the march

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Inequalities in Gender Identity Services.

Will Huxtor (left), the current chair of the NHS England Gender Task & Finish Group, is reported in his latest blog to be wanting to address inequality in the treatment of transgender people.  Unfortunately, there is already glaring inequality though in the way that the NHS commissioning services distinguish between the treatments for transgender women against those offered to trans men and these are weighted heavily in favour of transgender men.

One has to wonder if there might possibly be some sort of patriarchal bias against allowing transgender women equality in access to funding for surgeries which will allow them to transition in the relative safety that transgender men enjoy.

For trans men treatments which are funded by the NHS include:-
  • Testosterone therapy (much more expensive than oestrogen therapy)
  • Mastectomy (chest surgery)
  • Oophorectomy and hysterectomy
  • Metoidioplasty
  • Phalloplasty (3 stage operation)
It is estimated by some sources that the cost is 4 to 6 times the total cost of treatments for transgender women

For trans women treatments which are funded by the NHS include:-
  • Oestrogen therapy
  • Limited (8 hours) laser treatment to reduce the amount of facial hair (this is generally insufficient to fully remove facial hair - and if the patient cannot afford private treatments, it will grow back to its former density - thereby wasting the initial money spent)
  • Breast augmentation (allowed in selected cases, but not available to everybody)
  • GRS (includes orchidectomy, penectomy and vaginoplasty) - cost around £10,000
  • Tracheal shave (occasionally - but has to be fought for)
What is not included and is often vital are:
  • Hair transplantation (generally low cost surgery)
  • Facial Feminisation Surgery (high cost - similar in cost to phalloplasty in f2m patients)
  • Vocal cord surgery (only in exceptional cases)
The effects of testosterone for trans men is extremely beneficial - the voice will break naturally to give a very male voice, facial hair will develop so that the person will often grow a beard, hair loss will often result in male pattern baldness. The facial structure (underlying bone structure) will change the features to become far more masculine in appearance because of changes in the bone structure of the face. Features that do not change to a very large extent are the size of the hands or feet.

As a result of all this trans men tend to be assimilated back into society far easier than trans women and can therefore find it easier to gain meaningful employment and to hold down that job.

Although oestrogen therapy does bring about breast development (especially in younger people) very often very little breast development takes place - and funding for breast augmentation is a postcode lottery it would appear.

The NHS will fund 8 sessions of laser hair removal (or electrolysis) this is woefully inadequate in many cases and if the person cannot afford treatments (low income or unemployed) then the facial hair will regrow. This can make it extremely difficult for a trans woman to gain work/hold down a job (despite the EA2010 regarding employment non-discrimination). In many cases an additional 4 to 8 hours treatment would totally eliminate facial hair - and hence NHS money would not have been wasted.

The NHS will not under any circumstances fund hair transplants for transgender women - leaving them at risk of devastating humiliation should an accident occur or if somebody decided to play a “prank” and remove it.

The NHS will not under any circumstance fund facial feminisation surgery. This is as vital to many trans women as GRS. Oestrogen therapy will not reverse the effect of the radical facial masculinisation during a male puberty to any great extent (or reduce the size of hands or feet) which leaves trans women at far greater risk of transphobic hate crime - with the destructive loss of self-confidence which can lead to depression, anxiety attacks, suicide ideation or self-harming.


Whilst it is extremely important not to deny any of the existing NHS treatments that are freely available to transgender men, it is nevertheless vitally important that transgender women have equal access to surgeries which are vital to them and to how that can help them secure employment and assist in a good assimilation back into society.

In a survey which I did a short while back and which I have tried in vain to bring to the attention of Dr. John Dean (who has promised me appointments on two occasions now, but failed to deliver on either) it became absolutely clear that about half of all respondents to the survey felt it was as (if not more) important to allow transgender women to have access to Facial Feminisation Surgery (FFS) as the Gender Reassignment Surgery.

If you think about that, it actually might relieve a lot of the immediate pressure on the chronic waiting list length for GRS as many patients could be switch over to FFS surgeons hence relieving the pressure on the GRS surgeons.

If Mr. Huxtor would like to contact me about this, he can do so via the contact form on my website,

Sunday, 1 November 2015

If you are transgender, will you receive justice in a UK court?

Tara Hudson - jailed in a violent male prison
On the 23rd October Tara Hudson was given a prison sentence by Bath Magistrates for violent conduct assaulting the bar manager of a club in Bristol on Boxing Day of the previous year.

Tara is a transgender woman who admits that she also has alcohol and other mental health problems, so the magistrates decided that after several cautions about her previous behaviour she should be sent to prison.

We see this every weekend in towns and cities all over the UK and yes, most people are dismayed and angry that this happens - and every weekend people end up by being locked up in custody overnight and then released the following day with a fine.

Nobody is disputing that after a series of cautions maybe she deserved the short sharp shock of a 3 month prison sentence where hopefully she would get some help with her alcohol problems.

However what was truly horrific was that the magistrates decided to send her to HMP Bristol, a male prison which has been severely criticised by HM Inspectorate of Prisons as being an increasing violent institution where the morale of the prison staff and the inmates was at an all time low and that the prison was also castigated for the flourishing drug trade that occurs within its walls.

Tara is a young woman who has lived all her adult life in her acquired gender role, who has been on oestrogen hormones for 6 years (the Athletics Federation allows transgender people to compete in their acquired gender role after just two years of being on hormones as they have proved that after this amount of time the strength superiority acquired from testosterone has completely disappeared). She has also undergone various surgeries to change her body.

Despite assurances that she would be kept safe, she was allegedly locked in her cell for 23 hours a day and harassed and sexually abused continuously whilst she was there.  The prison staff were either powerless to stop the abuse or allowed it to happen.

A few days after reports about this surfaced in a local paper, a campaign was launched by Bath Gender Equality Network - which amazingly achieved 160,000 signatures in a little over 3 days, questions were raised in Parliament about what the DOJ was doing to rectify the problem which the Bath magistrates had caused. When questioned by reporters about this case,The Ministry of Justice, kept on repeating, parrot fashion, that until a transgender person had a GRC or new birth certificate, they would be housed in a jail that reflected their birth gender - despite their own guidelines published in 2011 saying that if a person had progressed a sufficient way into their transition, then a case conference should be called to decide which prison to house the person so as not to create additional mental stress to that person.

Demonstrators outside Bristol Crown Court ©BBC News
During the week she was housed in HMP Bristol an appeal was launched which was held a week after she had been sent down - this time at Bristol Crown Court. BGEN organised a demonstration (which myself and other people from Transfigurations attended) to be held outside the court during the hearing. A similar demonstration also took place outside the MOJ Department in London. The judge in the appeal hearing, although not changing the sentence, suggested that the prison authorities should reconsider where she should serve her sentence. Fortunately, the prison authorities decided to finally see wisdom and Tara was sent back from the hearing to a female prison in Gloucestershire.

Lessons do need to be learned from this terrible injustice as it was very apparent that Tara's Human Rights were breached by the original sentencing decision, so the whole legal system - from magistrates to prison authorities, need to learn from this terrible injustice and to apply the existing rules and guidelines as these were completely disregarded in this case.

I would like to thank Ceri Caramél Jenkins, Emily Senft and everybody else at the Bath Gender Equality Network who worked tirelessly long days and nights arranging the petition, twitter storms and everything else which you did raising awareness about this injustice - and most of all I would like to thank the great British public who responded quickly and compassionately in signing this petition - without your support I fear that Tara would still be in Horfield Prison and would bear the resulting scars for the rest of her life.

Thank you!!!!!

Later: As I mentioned in the message above, holding Tara in a male prison was a clear breach of her Human Rights and this is now being recognised as another petition has just been launched to bring the attention of the UN to the UK's treatment of transgender detainees and for them to take action against the UK government to stop this happening in the future.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Germaine Greer should really keep her opinions to herself

Germaine Greer
Over recent months, Germaine Greer's rants about transgender people have become the stuff of legend - from her obnoxious "Trans women are not women because they don't know what it is like to have a smelly vagina" (we do - but we choose to wash them to keep them clean) - but it would appear from this comment that Greer is simply equating women to be walking vaginas (should have chosen your words better Germaine). Then her comment recently about Caitlyn Jenner "........Jenner’s transition was nothing more than a “desperate attempt” to steal attention away from the other females in her infamous family" (as if any transgender person would go through the pain and ostracisation of transition just for that - plus the occasional obnoxious remark from Ms. Greer) to her now most famous rant on BBC's 'Newsnight' show after she had been "no-platformed" by students at Cardiff University “Just because you lop off your d**k and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a f***ing woman. I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears (that must be why she wears her hair long over her ears then) and liver spots (hmmmm, can't comment on that bit Germaine) and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that doesn’t turn me into a f***ing cocker spaniel." (no Germaine, I doubt you have ever identified as a cocker spaniel - but trans people have identified with the gender that we transition to since a very young age). It is also extremely strange that she never, ever rants about trans men having chest surgery or phalloplasty - all her venom is directed towards trans women. Maybe she is just insanely jealous of Jenna Talackova, Janet Mock, Laverne Cox and the many other beautiful transgender women out there in today's society. 

Let me inform you Germaine, it is never about being a better woman than you or any other women, it is about being proud of who we are, the battles that we have had to overcome, about being true to ourselves in a world that is hostile towards transgender people and made more hostile by your increasingly shrill and strident (and generally completely nonsensical) pronouncements about us. 

Whilst the concept of free speech should be upheld wherever possible, when that free speech threatens the life of people who are already victimised, then maybe it should be curtailed slightly. Nobody objects to the the voices of the far right BNP and Britain First being censored, yet there is a huge outcry by the TERF's when similarly damaging opinions expressed about transgender people (and transgender women particularly) are sought to be suppressed. Germaine Greer has immediate access to lots of publicity (so she is hardly being no-platformed) - she just picks up the phone, plays the "poor me, people are picking on me" card and she is immediately invited onto major television shows to discuss her opinions - opinions which are hugely damaging to transgender people. If I tried to do the same, then the BBC wouldn't even bother to return my call. When a prominent actress was invited onto the Victoria Derbyshire show to rebut Greer's outburst, Greer was also invited onto the show to debate the issue - she decided that she wouldn't debate it and just sent in a repeat of her previous foul mouthed statement.

Maybe the answer would be for Greer to read up about how eminent neuroscientists and other medical practitioners regard the aetiology of transsexuality and to see that the world (and gender) is not binary, a black or white choice - but a dazzling array of colours. Rather than expect the world to adjust to her myopic view of transgender people, for her to shift her way of thinking and to become more inclusive.

Whilst I would agree that as a young woman she shifted the dynamics of feminism in the sixties and seventies radically to change hearts and minds, she now fails to grasp that feminist theory has moved on since then and she is stuck in the past.

Any scientist will tell you that if the data doesn't fit the theory, you don't try to erase parts of the data so that the remaining data does fit the theory, you modify the theory so that all the data is explained by the theory. Greer and others such as Bindel, Moore et al, have failed to grasp that simple concept and so remain firmly welded to the past.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Another young trans woman of colour dies in the US.

Zella Ziona (from her Facebook page)
#‎MasculinitySoFragile‬
A young, 21 year old transgender woman of colour was murdered when a group of men who knew her from school decided to take her life whilst she was on her way to lay flowers on the grave of her grandmother who died a year ago. She was shot in the head several times and also in the groin - and died whilst she was being taken to hospital.

A guy who has been named as Rico Leblond has been arrested and charged with her murder and is trying to use a trans-panic defence to justify taking her life, According to Leblond,  Zella is said to have liked him and he shot her to stop his friends thinking that he liked her.

Is a man's perceived masculinity so frail that in order to justify that masculinity he has to murder anybody who might in any way threaten it? Another young woman's life is savagely and brutally taken away from her in order to inflate a man's ego.

This happens too many times, in the United States, in Central and South America. Already in the US alone this year 21 trans women have been murdered, the majority being trans women of colour.

RIP Zella Ziona  #alltranslivesmatter

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Heathwatch Devon launches new survey for trans people

Healthwatch Devon acting as lead partner but in association with Healthwatch Torbay and Healthwatch Plymouth, have launched a survey asking for your experiences of Gender Identity Services in England. Your answers will help form a report that will be fed back to numerous organisations including NHS England. If you are transgender and live in England (not Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland) you can contribute towards the survey at:-
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HWGenderID

This survey is open to everybody in England but please be quick as the closing date for this survey is the 25th November 2015.

To request a postal survey please either telephone 0800 520 0640, email info@healthwatchdevon.co.uk or write to:
Healthwatch Devon,
FREEPOST RTEK-TZZT-RXAL
First Floor, 3 & 4 Cranmere Court,
Lustleigh Close,
Matford Business Park,
Exeter
EX2 8PW

Please consider contributing to this survey - the results will be fed back up to NHS England as a means of forcing NHS England to allow more money to flow into the GIC's to help with recruiting more personnel (surgeons, psychiatrists, psychologists) to help end the long queues for treatment.
Every single contribution will help their efforts as it will provide hard statistics that they can then use to bring about change. Sitting back and doing nothing will not help to bring about this change.


I should add that it was because of the efforts of Healthwatch Torbay and others that the funding shortfall was rescinded last October - so providing hard statistics for Healthwatches to operate with does produce results.
 
Don't just sit back and moan that they never listen (like one person did last night in a PM) - do something POSITIVE to bring about much needed change.

Monday, 21 September 2015

National Diversity Awards 2015 (2)

Just received from the National Diversity Awards Team:-

Dear National Diversity Awards 2015 Attendees,

Thank you all for coming to what was a truly inspiring and special evening.

The team here at The National Diversity Awards wanted to extend our thanks for attending and being a part of such a fabulous evening, celebrating the amazing achievements of some of the UK’s most inspirational and selfless individuals and groups. You all contributed and played a part in ensuring that the ceremony was an evening none of us will ever forget.

To our Shortlisted Nominees.. you should all be immensely proud of yourselves. Whether you walked out of The Anglican Cathedral on Friday evening with an award in your hand or not, you are all worthy winners, and your work will continue to inspire and encourage millions of people every day. Please use your shortlisted stance to gain recognition for your hard work, your dedication is valued more than you will ever realise.

Photographs from the evenings celebrations are available to view on The National Diversity Awards Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/NationalDiversityAwards?ref=hl – if you spot yourselves or any of your guests please feel free to tag away!!

Any kind words regarding The National Diversity Awards 2015 would be gratefully received, and happily showcased via our social media outlets and on The National Diversity Awards website.

Once again, Thank You to each and every one of you. You are all simply amazing!! I hope to see you again next year at The National Diversity Awards 2016!!

Kind Regards,

Paul Sesay & The National Diversity Awards Team

Sunday, 20 September 2015

National Diversity Awards 2015


National Diversity Awards 2015 - Liverpool Anglican Cathedral - Lifetime Achiever Award
I would like to sincerely thank all the people that nominated me, the people who took time out to vote for me and the people who gave up their time to record a video of their support for me.  Although I didn't win this coveted award this year, it was a huge honour to be even shortlisted for this category which measures an individual's achievements over their lifetime and not just a single incident or a short time span.

The event was awesome and the way it was put together was breathtaking. When we walked into the cathedral (the old Gothic one which dominates the Liverpool skyline) we were dumbstruck with the beauty of the place - and the fabulous atmosphere which was generated.  I was overwhelmed and deeply honoured to be in such prestigious company (but I have had feedback from several people who were on our table saying that they felt honoured to be in my company - which I find difficult to believe as I am just a wee small cog in a very large wheel).

What I was left with however, was the fact that if everybody valued and believed in equality and diversity like everybody there did, there would be no more wars, no more famine and the world would be an infinitely better place to live. Maybe it is time for our politicians to grow up and start believing in this and put aside their petty, ideological squabbles and worked for the people of this planet instead of themselves or their friends.

My grateful thanks to the organisers of this event - I personally found it profoundly moving and deeply inspirational - a wonderful tribute to the many individuals who give up a major part of their lives (very often unpaid) for the betterment of the lives of other people. Thank you.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

New website for Transfigurations


Our new, mobile friendly website at http://transfigurations.org.uk
We have now launched our new website for Transfigurations (see above) which has been redesigned from the bottom up to be mobile device friendly (smartphones and tablets).  During this upgrade we also decided to move the site to our other domain, so the new site can now be found at:-
Once you have visited the site, if you have any feedback, please let us know by either leaving a comment below - or contacting us via our Contact Page.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Awareness Raising Day with the General Public

 
Erecting our gazebo on the new by-pass into Torquay

The road into Torbay is finally being dualled (it's only been on the cards for 60 years) and by-passes the notorious bottleneck of the journey between Newton Abbot and the outskirts of Torquay.

A section of the road was opened to the general public for them to see how it was progressing and voluntary organisations and businesses were given the opportunity to have stalls along part of the route and our application to have a stand was accepted, so we were out there and in the faces of the general public.

It was an extremely well attended event, with 3,000 tickets being released to the general public in advance of the viewing of the progress.

We were delighted to be able to have this opportunity to be out and proud - and spoke to many people about the lives of transgender people and as an awareness raising event, we managed to educate many people and the one thing that kept on coming back to us was respect from those people.
 
I think that even as little as 10 ye
ars ago, attending this type of event would have been very difficult, but I do think people are becoming more tolerant and understanding, yes, there are many Neanderthals still out there, but society is changing in its attitude towards transgender people. The battle for acceptance is not yet won, but each minor squirmish that results in greater understanding is a milestone towards that eventual victory.


We would like to express our gratitude to
Galliford Try, the main constructors of the new South Devon Highway, for hosting this event and giving us the opportunity to interact with the public in this manner.

General view of the South Devon Highway which will never be seen again (full of gazebos and pedestrians)

Friday, 24 July 2015

NHS Consultation regarding Trans Children & Adolescents

#‎NHSGenderID‬
Very interesting day yesterday at the workshop on the Service Specification for Gender Identity Services for Children and Adolescents held at the Coin Street Neighbour Centre in London SW1.
Although the present protocol is working for some, many others are being let down, not only by the Tavistock, but by GP's and CAMHS (which has long waiting lists) - and sadly this means young people are put at risk of self-harming, self mutilation and suicide. They also risk a poorer level of education than their peers as the depression and other side effects of GD can seriously affect their ability to study.
The workshop recognised this and the NHS is open to change - but it is vitally important for transgender children and adolescents that the decisions reached during the workshop need to be implemented in the very near future - not in 18 months to 2 years time.

Monday, 25 May 2015

New Home for Transfigurations

It was a sad day last Tuesday when we left the building that had been our home these last six months - six months that has seen a 400% increase in those people attending our meetings, but alas, as they say - all good things must come to an end.

Cool Recovery, an organisation which supports many vulnerable people here in South Devon had to go into voluntary liquidation due to lack of funding so that they were no longer able to pay for the building, Cool House,  which they have had in Torquay for the last 17 years.  Its loss will be severely felt by the local community, many people depended on the services that it provided - so others than ourselves will feel this loss to the whole community greatly.

We have been fortunate though, to secure the use of another building - from where we hope to expand the services that we provide even more.  As from the 3rd June 2015 we will be holding our future meetings in the Chelston Community Centre in the Chelston area of Torquay (click here to visit Google maps to find our location).

The building is approached via an unnamed access road situated to the left of Crispins Fish and Chip shop on Old Mill Road in Chelston:-

 About 50 yards down that access road you will find our new meeting venue:-
 
 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

To Hate or Not to Hate

A debate was recently started when I was arranging a Transgender Day of Remembrance service in my home town.  It was planned as the culmination of Transgender Awareness Week where transgender people reach out into the wider community to make all people more aware of the issues which transgender people face every day of our lives and to this end our TDoR event was planned to be open to everybody in the hope that by being inclusive we could show people the tragic and horrific end results of unbridled transphobia.

Invitations were sent out to various groups like Samaritans, Torbay Healthwatch, Torbay Community Development Trust, Torbay and South Devon Healthcare Trust, Devon and Cornwall Police and local politicians of all parties - for these are the people who can make a difference to the lives of transgender people in a positive way.  All have responded and willingly accepted our invitations. The Devon and Cornwall Police even offered to help support our event by donating some funding to allow us to provide food and refreshments for everybody attending and the local Healthcare Trust kindly donated their conference facilities for the evening at no charge.

One local politician, who incidentally is fully supportive of LGB and, in this case, perhaps more importantly, T rights (and who also walked out of a council meeting because he was refused leave by the Chair of the Council, to ask questions about violence against women and children in the Torbay area) accepted the invitation. 

A furore of condemnation from certain people erupted because of this. 
Why???
Purely because he represents UKIP as a local councillor.  Many of the remarks said that he should be excluded (despite his previous support for LGBT rights).  That he had no right to even be in the room.  One person remarked that she could not even sit in the same room as somebody who represented UKIP.

Don’t these remarks sound very similar to those from TERF activists or to the many people who would exclude us  from any public space - the politics of hatred, the politics of denying us our right to be who we are?  Surely we as a community are better than that?  We decry people who refuse to listen to our voices and reject our arguments for inclusion for being bigots - if we start doing the same and excluding people (in spite of them being supportive of our demand for equality) does this not make us just as bigoted as they are?

To enable positive change we have to engage with people outside our community and this includes politicians (of all parties) and if people want to learn and then act to help us achieve better healthcare, better housing, safe and secure employment then I, personally, welcome this - as I would hope that most fair minded people would.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014


Transfigurations will be holding an event to memorialise those people who have lost their lives to transphobic rage and bigotry.  The event will be held in the Horizon Centre - the Education and Development Centre of Torbay Hospital in Torquay, South Devon UK.
You can find it here on Google maps.
If you wish to attend, could you please put you name down for the event here or email me at this temporary email address here

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Telephone Support Line Now OPEN

 Tel: 07476 15 17 17

I am really pleased to announce that some funding has been kindly donated to Transfigurations by Devon and Cornwall Police, with this funding it is now possible to open our confidential helpline. This will initially be staffed on a Wednesday and Sunday evening (except the first Wednesday of every month) from 6:00pm until midnight. Please note that at this moment it not a freephone number, it is a standard mobile number and any calls you make will be credited to your account (although if you have free minutes available on your phone plan, it will be included in your monthly allowance). We will announce extensions to these opening times once we have looked at call pattern usage.
Hopefully it will be possible for us to attract sufficient funding for this to be a freephone number at some point in the future.

Please Note: On days that the helpline is not available, you can send me a text message and I will try and get in contact with you as quickly as possible.  
Confidentiality:
All information which you might reveal about yourself (such as your name, address, telephone number) will be kept absolutely confidential and will only be accessible to the Management Team of Transfigurations and held securely.
The only time that confidentiality will be breached is if a child or a vulnerable adult (please see our Policy Documents for details) is believed to be at risk of harm. This will only be done after consultation with the Management team and is something that would not be done lightly.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Survey on psychological harm done by shortfalls in funding for surgery

Announcements have been made by several GIC's that NHS England is running out of funding this year - for example, the Laurel's GIC in Exeter has recently announced that they will be unable to fund any surgeries for patients from some time in November through to next April when NHS England's next fiscal year commences.

This has been caused in part by the large increase in the number of people who have come forward over the last few years and presented as being transgender, this in turn has put considerable pressure on the budget that NHS England has for all the speciality commissioned services, gender reassignment surgery being one of those services.

Many people are blaming the NHS, but in fairness to them, it really isn't their fault - this government keeps cutting the amount of funding to the NHS and specialised services are one area where the axe falls hardest - especially the funding for transgender services as the general public tends not to rate money spent in this area very high on their list of priorities, which isn't helped by negative press from such "newspapers" such as the Daily Mail.

However, these funding shortfalls are having a devastating affect on the lives of transgender people - they go by the book and complete what is mandated of them by the GIC's by completing their RLE's, fully expecting their referral at the end of that period - and then they are told "Sorry, the money has run out now, you will have to wait until next year for your referral".

Has this affected you?  Will it affect you in the next few months?

This is what this survey is about.  If your life, your mental health, your physical health has been affected on hearing about these funding shortfalls, please tell us about it - hopefully if enough people are being affected, then we can pressure NHS England to look again and try to get extra funding.

Please tell us about how the news of these shortfalls in funding and the delays due to shortage of qualified surgeons has affected you.  Your voice can make a difference.

Take the survey here

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Transgender surgery vs bariatric surgery

Today it was being announced that people with a BMI of 30+ would be offered bariatric surgery soon - at a much higher cost than the majority of gender reassignment surgery.
Being overweight, for many people, is a lifestyle choice - being transgender isn't.

I wonder when the Daily Mail will be running with screaming headlines condemning the NHS for wasting billions of pounds more on these people, will they be calling them scum and a waste of taxpayers money - as they so often like to do with the relatively very small numbers of people who need gender reallignment surgery.  I sincerely doubt it because I should imagine quite a substantial proportion of their readership will fall into this category and they cannot afford to alienate them.