The British government has ‘mishandled’ the healthcare needs of trans people, a Conservative MP has said.
The comments come from Maria Miller, who chairs the Commons women and equalities committee.
Miller said that there had been a ‘wrongheaded’ approach to trans rights in the UK.
She has urged for reforms which would allow trans people better access to vital healthcare.
‘Many trans people simply don’t have access to the basic healthcare that the rest of us take for granted — things like cervical smears are often things that trans men are not able to access,’ she said.
UK ministers are currently discussing amending the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). The reforms are desinged to in order to provide more legal rights to trans people.
However, Miller said that those overseeing the reforms had ignored 32 recommendations in a report from her committee, the Metro reports.
In May last year, trans rights activists wrote an open letter to Minister for women and equalities, Penny Mordaunt.
The activists requested she prioritizes a consultation on the GRA, which would potentially give adults the right to change gender without a doctor’s approval.
Miller also raised the issue of trans women’s’ access to female toilets, saying that the government had failed to make clear that there was ‘no threat to single-sex services’.
Debates over rights and healthcare
The UK has seen an increased debate with regards to the healthcare and over the fundamental rights of trans people.
This comes at a time which has seen a rapid increase in the number of teenagers in the UK who are seeking treatment for gender dysphoria on the National Health Service (NHS).
In less than a decade, the UK has seen a 4,400% increase in the number of girls seeking gender affirmation treatment. 1,806 sought treatment in 2017, compared to only 40 in 2009.
In August 2018, the UK’s minister for women, Victoria Atkins, prompted a backlash from trans rights groups, after saying that trans youths might not fully understand why they would opt to undergo gender confirmation therapy.
The following September, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the UK’s equality watchdog, announced it would sue the NHS England for not offering fertility treatments to transgender patients.
The commission argued that not offering fertility treatments to patients restricts their options for reproduction, which they say constitutes discrimination against trans patients.