Protesters stage ‘die in’ outside NHS HQ in powerful demonstration against trans healthcare crisis

Trans protest outside NHS England

LGBT+ demonstrators staged a “die in” outside NHS England headquarters on Saturday (4 December) to protest against the trans healthcare crisis.

Around 150 demonstrators gathered outside NHS England’s headquarters in south London on the cold Saturday afternoon holding signs reading “the NHS is anti-trans”, “Negligent Health Service” and “F**k the GIC: Trans blood on your hands”.

After speeches, protestors held a “die in” to symbolise the many trans people who have died while on NHS waiting lists. Later, there was a vigil to honour and remember the dead.

The 4 December protest was organised by Trans Action Block, a group of radical activists dedicated to trans liberation in the UK, who said: “Trans healthcare in this country is segregated. Stand with us to show them that we deserve better, to honour our siblings killed by the NHS, and to protect those awaiting care.”

In the UK, spiralling waiting lists and restrictive gatekeeping by cisgender officials mean that trans people seeking treatment at an NHS gender clinic typically wait up to five years for a first appointment with a gender specialist – against a promised 18 week maximum wait time set by the legally binding NHS constitution.

The group said the protest had five key demands: abolition of segregated NHS gender identity clinics (GIC), no more segregated pilot schemes, the resumption of prescribing puberty blockers to trans youth, equity of treatment in all aspects of healthcare and the introduction of an informed consent model for trans healthcare – which means that doctors would treat trans patients as the experts in themselves and provide the desired healthcare on the basis of informed consent.

Currently, medical transition is only available on the NHS to trans patients who submit to psychiatric evaluation and receive a diagnosis of gender dysphoria – despite being trans not being an illness and many trans people not experiencing gender dysphoria.

Chay Brown, of community organisation Trans Actual UK, said: “They remember that we’re trans but they forget that we’re people.”

Several activists gave speeches about the need for a complete overhaul of the trans healthcare system in the UK and demanding a move to a model of informed consent.

Abigail Thorn, of YouTube channel Philosophy Tube, ended the speeches with an impassioned call for “not trans rights, but trans power!” which was loudly echoed by those present, according to rs21 magazine.