Green MSP Maggie Chapman calls for government to better support trans and non-binary youth

Maggie Chapman speaking during a Scottish Greens event.

Green Party MSP Maggie Chapman has, once again, come out swinging for LGBTQ+ rights in a speech calling for Scotland to do more in supporting trans youth.

The North East Scotland MSP kicked off a new parliamentary term in Holyrood with a supportive speech calling for the needs of transgender and non-binary youth to be met in the region.

“Some of those 300,000 children who currently benefit from Scottish child payment will be transgender or non-binary,” Chapman told MSPs during the session. “Many will be gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

“We want them all to grow up in safety with dignity and equality with their health needs met in the right place at the right time.”

Chapman continued that not only should succinct and comprehensive healthcare for trans youth be a priority, but young trans people should also be free from “cruel and damaging” conversion therapy practices.

“I and the Scottish Greens will never renege on our solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ [community].”

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In Scotland, those who need trans and non-binary healthcare face similarly inadequate care and lengthy waiting times to other parts of the UK.

According to LGBTQ+ advocacy group Scottish Trans, wait times for a first appointment in one of the four gender identity clinics (GICs) in Scotland can range from four to five years.

Young people are expected to wait up to four years for a first appointment at the Sandyford GIC, which is the only GIC for under-18s in Scotland.

Chapman and the Scottish Greens have long been advocating for more to be done to mitigate the length of waiting times for a first appointment.

Their Reform Trans Healthcare campaign calls on the government to introduce an “alternative pathway” to help relieve pressure on the current services.

The Scottish Greens point to research conducted by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to argue that the current system is not fit for purpose.

“Demand for the GIC service in Edinburgh and Glasgow clearly outstrips capacity and the evidence suggests that the long waiting times and inefficiencies of the service are hugely frustrating to the trans men, women, and non-binary people who use them,” the report reads.

“Investment is needed in the GIC to improve capacity and service provision.”

However, the Greens believes that officials must go further than “simply investing in the current system” and, instead, implement trial reforms that are currently being tested in England.

“The report also shows that there are many problems in how it works and a lack of trust from many trans people in the services they provide,” a statement on the Green Party’s campaign website reads.

“We are asking for a commitment to establish a new Alternative Pathway to Trans Healthcare on a trial basis, following a consultative medicine model which will allow trans people to get the treatment they need rather than being forced down pathways which don’t suit them.”

Trials in England include the Indigo Gender Service in Greater Manchester and the TransPlus service in Soho.

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