Vermont passes groundbreaking law to make all single user public toilets gender neutral

Lawmakers in Vermont have passed a groundbreaking law that requires all single-user public bathrooms to be explicitly gender neutral.

On Friday, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed a bill that now requires all self-contained public bathrooms to be explicitly open to people of any gender. 
This bill will affect toilets in a variety of publicly used buildings, including government buildings, shops, schools and recreational facilities.

Read More:

European Court Ruling Makes Forced Sterilization of Trans People Illegal

On Thursday, April 6, Europe’s top court ruled that it is against international human rights laws to require trans people to undergo forced sterilisation before receiving gender-affirmed ID documents.

Currently, it’s estimated that 22 European countries require trans people to undergo sterilisation before they can be recognised in their gender-affirmed identities. These countries include Belgium, Greece, the Ukraine and Azerbaijan, to name just a few. Until late in 2016, it was also mandatory for French trans people to be sterilised, and Switzerland still has such a law on its books.

Read more here:

UK Trans Population Finally Protected from Conversion Therapy

After two years of waiting, trans people have finally been added to the memorandum of understanding on conversion therapy, an issue which Karen Pollock has been following.

Almost a year ago, The Queerness featured an open letter to the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, calling for trans people to be added to the memorandum of understanding on conversion therapy. There was considerable confusion as to why they had not be included in the first place, and a belief that this protection was vital to prevent the proven harms of conversion therapy.

Yesterday (Monday 16 January), gender was finally added to the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy, which has been signed by the following bodies:

  • The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
  • The British Psychoanalytic Council
  • The British Psychological Society
  • The College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists
  • GLADD – The Association of LGBT Doctors and Dentists
  • The National Counselling Society
  • National Health Service Scotland
  • Pink Therapy
  • The Royal College of General Practitioners
  • The Scottish Government
  • Stonewall
  • The UK Council for Psychotherapy
    A clear and unequivocal statement has been released by some of the signatories.

    We the undersigned UK organisations wish to state that the practice of conversion therapy has no place in the modern world. It is unethical and harmful and not supported by evidence.
    Conversion Therapy is the term for therapy that assumes certain sexual orientations or gender identities are inferior to others, and seeks to change or suppress them on that basis.
    Sexual orientations and gender identities are not mental health disorders, although exclusion, stigma and prejudice may precipitate mental health issues for any person subjected to these abuses.
    Anyone accessing therapeutic help should be able to do so without fear of judgement or the threat of being pressured to change a fundamental aspect of who they are.

    The MoA means that any member of the signatory organisations cannot attempt to ‘fix’ someone who is trans, or treat being trans as a mental health condition which needs curing.

    Read more here:

    Brit Awards: Anohni nominated for Best British Female eleven years after Best British Male nomination

    Trans singer Anohni has been nominated for a Brit Award as Best British Female Solo Artist, eleven years after her Best British Male nomination at the Brit Awards. Anohni, previously known as Antony Hegarty was nominated for Best British Male Artist in 2006 as part of the band Antony and the Johnsons, after the release of their album, I Am a Bird Now.

    This year’s nomination comes after the 2016 release of Anohni’s critically acclaimed solo album, Hopelessness.

    Read more here:

    Thoughts on ‘Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best’

    This article from @sexdrugsmh sums up BBC’s harmful irresponsible show from BBC2 last night:

    I don’t really want to get into discussing Zucker and the reasons why he’s controversial, nor about the best therapy for trans children. There are other people who know more about this than me, who can discuss it better than me.

    Instead I want to focus on the documentary itself – what messages did it give, and how did it do that? In my view, part of the reason this was such a poor documentary is that in fact it wasn’t entirely clear what this was a documentary about, and it ended up mixing together several rather poorly-explained issues. I can see several possible strands to the documentary’s narrative, but only the fourth was done effectively. And if the fourth was what the BBC was intending – well, I don’t really know where we go from here. Other than to say complain.

    Strand 1 – Closure of Dr Zucker’s clinic

    If this was a documentary investigation of the circumstances that led to Dr Kenneth Zucker’s clinic being closed, and giving a voice to Dr Zucker’s views on that, then I would have expected some detail on the circumstances of that closure. Who decided to close the clinic? How were decisions taken? When? What meetings took place? Who was at those meetings? What criticisms are there of the process followed, and are there rebuttals to those criticisms? Absolutely fundamentally: what were the officially stated reasons for closing this service and rendering Dr Zucker unemployed?

    Contrary to what was implied, “transgender activists” did not fire Kenneth Zucker for not being gender affirming enough. How could they? They weren’t his employers, and I suspect that even in Canada, trans people are not powerful enough to merely point at a medical service and say “Close that” and it happens. (If they were, I get the impression that this clinic would probably have been closed rather earlier than it was). Campaigners and service-users make plenty of calls for public figures they don’t like to be sacked every day of the week, but that doesn’t usually happen.

    Read More here:

    Tavistock and Portman awarded Charing Cross Adult Gender Clinic contract

    The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust will act as interim providers for the Charing Cross Adult Gender Identity Clinic in 2017/18. This is an exciting development for the Trust which has taken up the opportunity to bring its expertise in this area to bear and develop a close partnership between children & young adult and adult services.

    Earlier this year the current provider, West London Mental Health Trust, served notice on their contract to NHS England on the basis that patients requiring gender identity services would be better served in the long term by another provider.

    We have the expertise, relationships, commitment and enthusiasm to deliver on the requirements of the NHS England commissioning team over the interim period.

    Read more here:

    Transgender rights: France scraps sterilisation in status law

    Transgender rights activists have welcomed a new French law that lets transgender people change their legal status without having to be sterilized.

    The activist group ILGA-Europe called it “clear progress” that “another European country has dispensed with the shameful practice of sterilization”.

    But it regretted that trans people in France will still have to get a court to recognize their gender change.

    Laws in Denmark, Malta, Ireland and Norway have gone further, it said.

    In those countries, legal gender recognition relies on the principle of “self-determination” – dispensing with medical or judicial requirements.

    That principle was also advocated by the Council of Europe – the top European human rights watchdog – in an anti-discrimination resolution last year

    Read more here:

    ‘A hole in your chest where gender used to be’: Being non-binary in the UK

    Four people living in the UK explain what it’s like to be non-binary.

    Recent years have seen an unprecedented increase in awareness of transgender communities among wider society. In 2014, Time magazine declared society has reached a “transgender tipping point” and figures like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox have become household names. However, despite the welcome interest in transgender communities, some transgender identities have received considerably more attention than others. Transgender identities and lived experiences can be much more varied and complex than binary ‘male to female’ or ‘female to male’ transition stories which dominate the press.

    Non-binary people can identify as transgender, but often not within the traditional gender binary of male or female. Rather, some non-binary people can identify as a mix of genders, or none at all. Some can feel their gender identity is steady and fixed, while others feel it can fluctuate by the day, by the hour or depending on the situation they are in. For many non-binary people, life can feel like being a minority within a minority.

    Here, four non-binary people share their experiences of what life is like for them living in the UK and their hopes for greater understanding and visibility for the future.

    J is 39-years-old and works at a university in London

    How would you describe being non-binary?

    Being non-binary feels like having this hole in your chest where something — my sense of gender — used to be, where you know that almost everyone else has something, and now I just… don’t. It’s not a painful lack, just a noticeable one that sets me apart from most other people.

    It means people who don’t identify all of the time as a man or a woman. Maybe they switch between those genders, or feel like a different gender entirely, or they don’t have a gender at all, or something different.

    Read more here: