Liz Truss rehashes tired, anti-trans talking points in Tory leadership hustings
Liz Truss turned to anti-trans talking points once again in the first Tory leadership hustings.
The foreign secretary and equalities minister, seen as the favourite to become Britain’s next prime minister, said she wants to “protect single-sex spaces” and doesn’t support under-18s making “irreversible decisions about their own bodies” at the LBC event on Thursday (28 July).
During the hustings, an audience member claimed that, during the COVID-19 lockdowns, several unidentified schools “took the opportunity to remove all the girl’s toilets and make all of the toilets mixed”.
She demanded that Trust “bring in a policy that guarantees our daughters can go to the toilet in a safe environment in any school in the country.”
Truss said: “I’ve been very clear that single sex spaces should be protected, particularly for young people as well as vulnerable people – vulnerable women in domestic violence shelters, for example – and I can assure you, as prime minister, I would direct that to happen.”
Under the Equality Act, trans people have a legal right to access single-sex spaces, including public bathrooms, that match their gender. Organisations can only exclude trans people from such spaces if it is to achieve a legitimate and proportionate aim.
LBC host Nick Ferrari then crudely asked Truss which bathroom a transgender pupil should use in a hypothetical school, asking: “Where does he/she go to the toilet?”
Truss replied: “Well, first of all, I do not believe that under-18s should be able to make irreversible decisions about their own bodies that they might come to regret later, I’d like to note that.
“But of course, schools should be sensitive. They can provide additional facilities that should not be at the expense of protecting young girls.”
In the UK, “irreversible” gender-affirming healthcare is largely unavailable to young trans people.
People over 16 can access gender-affirming hormone therapy, which can cause irreversible changes, provided they have been on puberty blockers for 12 months. Waiting lists to access blockers, and any treatment, are lengthy, with many people ‘ageing out’ before they can be given blockers.
The current hormone blockers used for under-18s are “physically reversible” according to the NHS section on gender dysphoria.
Surgery is only available for over-18s.
In February 2022, Truss, in her role as equalities minister, said the government “has no interest” in banning trans people from single-sex spaces.
However an “unpublished guidance pack dated from the end of 2021” was leaked to Vice World News on 10 February, which appeared to show that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission was proposing to advise organisations to bar trans people from single-sex spaces unless they have a Gender Recognition Certificate.
The EHRC has denied any involvement and insisted that it “does not match any document that we are aware of.”
NHS to replace youth gender identity clinic
Truss’ comments came on the same day that NHS England announced it is to close its sole dedicated youth gender clinic and replace it with regional centres across the country by next spring in an effort to a more “holistic and localised approach” to trans youth healthcare.”
In a statement published on Thursday, the NHS said that it will establish two “Early Adopter services” run by children’s hospitals in an effort to keep up with the “urgent requirement to stabilise current service provision.”
The move was recommended by Dr Hilary Cass in a letter to NHS national director John Stewart, where she stressed the “need to move from a single national provider to a regional mode.”
She added: “Regional centres should be led by experienced providers of tertiary paediatric care to ensure a focus on child health and development, with strong links to mental health services. These will generally be specialist children’s hospitals.
“They should have established academic and education functions to ensure that ongoing research and training is embedded within the service delivery model,” she continued. “Staff should maintain a broad clinical perspective to embed the care of children and young people with gender uncertainty within a broader child and adolescent health context.”
Truss’ track record on LGBTQ+ rights has been less than desirable, with her time as women’s and equalities minister largely spent fuelling a so-called “war on woke.”
In a Daily Mail article published on 21 July, Truss promised to “stand up” to people who “talk down” to Britain, saying that: “I reject dehumanising identity cancel culture and the voices of decline.”
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