Welsh Lib Dems to lead landmark debate on transgender issues

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are marking Transgender Awareness Week on Wednesday by leading a landmark Welsh Assembly debate on issues faced by Welsh trans people.

It is thought to be the first time the topic has been discussed in-depth by the National Assembly for Wales.

According to a 2012 study for the country’s NHS, it is estimated there are over 31,300 trans people in Wales, yet there are significant problems relating to adequate healthcare and housing provision.

Welsh Lib Dem Assembly Members will be raising these issues, in addition to the perception of trans people in Wales and what can be done to further raise awareness of gender equality issues in order to reduce stigma.

The Welsh Lib Dems are calling on the Welsh Government to identify a Minister to be given specific responsibility for transgender issues, and for that Minister to report back to the Assembly within 6 months with an action plan to address the concerns raised.

Kirsty Williams AM, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said: “This is a long overdue debate, and I’m pleased that the Welsh Liberal Democrats are giving these issues the attention they deserve. Trans people are subject to so much prejudice throughout their lives, and there’s so much more we can do to support them access public services.

“The Welsh Labour Government claims there isn’t enough demand for a gender clinic in Wales, but are doing so without any solid basis for their claim. Given that estimates put the number of trans people in Wales in the thousands, it’s astonishing to think that there still isn’t a single gender clinic in Wales.

“Trans hate crime has also been recognised as a concern by the Welsh Labour Government, yet there isn’t any publicly-funded LGBT safe housing in Wales for those facing bullying or persecution on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity in the same way that there would be for people experiencing domestic violence.

“This is yet another issue where Wales is falling behind compared to the rest of the UK. I sincerely hope the Welsh Government will take the opportunity to take action and put in place these services as quickly as possible.”

The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is held every year on 20 November.

It was sparked in 1998 by the San Francisco murder of Rita Hester, whose killer was never found, and has gradually expanded to a global scale.

226 transgender people were reportedly killed in the past 12 months worldwide – though statistics are unreliable, as most countries do not hold accurate data on transgender victims.

In the UK, TDOR events will be taking place in a number of towns and cities, including London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Gloucester, Milton Keynes, Sheffield, Bristol, Bradford and Torquay.

For details of events, see TDOR.