Scotland transgender conference to address discrimination

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Edinburgh is set to host one of the largest conferences for transgender and intersex people this weekend.

Over 150 trans and intersex activists from across the UK are expected to attend the Trans and Intersex Conference of the Isles, which is being organised by the Scottish Transgender Alliance, of the Equality Network.

The conference will address the discrimination that trans people continue to experience as a part of daily life – with 98% of transgender people experiencing abuse or discriminatory treatment.

Long waiting times for gender confirmation surgery will also be discussed – with a backlog of over two years well in excess of the 18 week NHS target.

The Equality Network said: “While lesbian, gay and bisexual people now have almost full equality under the law, the human rights of transgender and intersex people are still not fully respected in Scotland, with huge problems securing legal gender recognition and only limited protections from discrimination.”

Edinburgh-based Cate Lauder, 37, said: “As a trans woman you learn to put up with abuse on a daily basis.

“I have lost count of how many times people have shouted offensive comments, given me dirty looks, or laughed at me in the street.

“I’ve even been groped on a few occasions and asked about my genitals by complete strangers. I like to think of myself as a confident person, but it can be really humiliating and sometimes you get scared that it could turn violent.

“No one should have to put up with that.”

Nathan Gale of the Scottish Transgender Alliance said: “Scotland likes to pride itself on our ambition to create a fair and equal society for everyone, but the rights of transgender and intersex people are too often left behind.

“In 2014, equality under the law should be a minimum standard for all citizens but for trans and intersex people we still haven’t achieved it.

“We also have much further to go to ensure that people no longer experience prejudice and discrimination in their day-to-day lives.

“We cannot truly say that Scotland stands for equality while trans and intersex people are still unable to access basic services that meet their needs, or even walk down the street without fear of getting abused.

“That’s why we are holding this conference and calling on the Scottish Government and public bodies to take action.”