Inquest to be held into trans woman who died by suicide while on gender clinic waiting list

Alice Litman with short blonde hair, wearing sunglasses, black dungarees and a pink t-shirt, smiling as the sun shines on her

An inquest is to be held into the death of a transgender woman who was waiting for a gender-identity clinic appointment when she died.

Alice Litman died by suicide, aged 20, in Brighton in May last year.

She had been referred to the NHS Gender-Identity Development Service in August 2019 and had been waiting 1,023 days for an initial assessment when she died.

A pre-inquest review hearing was held last month, with the three-day inquest scheduled for September.

In a statement, Litman’s family said they believed her death was “partly because of the inaccessibility of gender-affirming healthcare in the UK”.

The statement said: “We believe the long waiting lists can leave vulnerable trans people feeling hopeless and as though there is no end in sight.”

You may like to watch

The family said they wanted the coroner “to recognise the lack of access to gender-affirming care”, adding: “We want to live in a world where transgender people do not face threats to their safety, their autonomy, and their happiness.

“We all deserve to live in dignity with access to the health[care] we need. We are asking NHS England to prevent future deaths by urgently addressing the crisis in trans healthcare.”

Alice Litman and her mum smiling, with snow visible on the ground behind them
Alice on a winter walk with her mum. (The Litman family)

At the pre-review hearing, assistant coroner Sarah Clarke said the availability of trans health services would be examined, as well as the involvement of mental-health services, The Argus reported.

In an opinion piece for PinkNews shortly after Litman’s death, her sister, Kate said she “can only hope that the institutions that failed her will answer for [the] loss”.

She said they would never have “a straightforward answer” as to why Litman “chose death over life”.

She added: “But we keep returning to this fact that Alice faced powerful external barriers to her flourishing; barriers which were structural and deliberate”.

She condemned the “broader system of violence towards trans people, with hostility and hatred becoming a routine fixture in the British press in recent years”.

BBC News reported that the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, where the gender-identity clinic is based, as saying it was “deeply saddened” by Litman’s death but it was “not appropriate to comment while the inquest is ongoing”.

The clinic’s website, which currently only shows data from the same month that Litman died, reveals the waiting list to be 11,407-people long.