National Action: Recovering A Future supports health sector strikes

An overworked, underpaid, and demoralised health sector cannot work best for all patients, including trans patients. The Coalition Government’s attacks on NHS workers are just one part of a wider plan to weaken and sell off parts of this service which, although not perfect, is an essential service. And as the recent film Pride has shown, it is through common struggle that the bonds of solidarity are forged; when doctors, nurses and other NHS workers see trans and queer people supporting their cause, they are going to be more amenable to supporting ours. For those reasons, Recovering A Future are calling on trans and queer activists to support the public health sector strikes that are happening week commencing 13th October.

The strike:

Nine unions representing NHS workers are out on strike for the first time in 32 years in protest over pay and conditions. For some unions, like the Royal College of Midwives, it will be their first strike in their 132 year history. There will be a 4 hour strike from 7am - 11am on Monday 13th October, followed by 4 days of action where NHS workers actually take the breaks that are legally entitled to them. The week of action will be rounded off with a TUC organised rally in Brighton on the 18th October.

What you can do:

Pop down to your local picket on Monday 13th 7am - 11am to join striking workers in solidarity. Bring baked goods and hot coffee, maybe signs saying something like “Trans people support the strike” or similar. Chat to striking workers and use this opportunity to talk about health sector pay and conditions, and to talk to them about Recovering A Future or other trans healthcare activism. More information about where local pickets will be will be posted as that information becomes available.

Join the TUC rally in Brighton on the 18th October. The TUC are arranging travel from all areas of the country, see their website tuc.org.uk and search for your local area for more details.

Change your profile pictures, avatars, etc. to a selfie of yourself with a sign saying “trans people support the strike” / or similar. Tweet, tumblr, and use facebook to raise awareness of the strike.

If you do show your support for striking NHS workers, please let us know how. Send us your photos of you on pickets, with signs, or at the rally to info@actionfortranshealth.org.uk

GP Shitlist

Have you had a bad experience with your GP? Do you want to check out whether anyone has made complaints to us about your GP in the past?

Recovering A Future are producing a “shitlist” of GPs to avoid for trans* people to avoid. If you have had a bad experience with your GP that compromised your ability to seek healthcare advice and treatment, please let us know through completing this short survey.

How will we use your information?

The name and contact details of your GP, along with your description of what happened and the dates on which incidents occurred will be stored on our system. For legal reasons (we don’t want to get sued) these will not be published on the internet. If you want us to take further action regarding the incident (ie. offer training to the GP, support you in making a complaint, organising protests, etc.) please provide us with your contact details and we will do our best to help you. We aim to check the list once a week for updates. All your contact details will be kept confidential.

How to find out if my GP / potential GP is on the list

Unlike our list of member-recommended GPs, we cannot publish our GP shitlist on the internet for legal reasons. However, if you want to check to see if your GP or potential GP is on the list, and how they have responded to any interventions on our part, please email info[at]recoveringafuture.org.uk.

 

Upcoming Event: Activist Training Day in Brighton

Interested in trans healthcare activism and want to find out more?
Thinking about setting up a trans healthcare campaign?
Want to meet other awesome trans activists?

Come join Recovering A Future for our activist training day in Brighton on Saturday 4th of October.

The day will be split into two halves.

The first half will cover getting a group together and organising actions, fundraising, and support, and will be primarily aimed at people wanting to set up an Recovering A Future chapter or their own healthcare campaign.

The second half will be a “train the trainers” session to empower trans people deliver training and advocacy services to healthcare professionals.

Places are limited. To reserve a place please email info@actionfortranshealth.org.uk
If you have any access issues that we need to know about please let us know via email and we will try our best to accommodate them.

See facebook event for updates

Statement on Racism, Cultural Appropriation and Safer Spaces

This statement has been written to formalise Recovering A Future’s position, aspirations, and commitments regarding problems of racism and cultural appropriation within the UK trans community. It will go on to form an integral part of a wider safer-spaces policy for the organisation.

Recovering A Future seeks to be a safe space for all trans people to organise for our liberation. We recognise that the UK trans community has an ongoing problem with racism, cultural appropriation and a colonialist attitude towards trans liberation in the global south. Transmisogyny and binarism has its roots in colonialist violence and this structures the way that we talk about and experience gender. As such, we feel anti-racism and decolonialisation is key to gender liberation. It is necessary for Recovering A Future to commit to opposing racism by creating safer structures and spaces and by expecting our white members to recognise their white privilege and seek to reduce its impact on others. This will hopefully ensure that we can create spaces where all trans people feel safe and empowered to organise for trans healthcare.

Safer Spaces

Trans people of colour’s right to exist is not up for debate. As such, Recovering A Future operates a safer spaces policy both online and offline regarding racist behaviour. We commit to moderating our online spaces so that racist comments are deleted and the commenters warned / banned. We commit to challenging racist behaviour at events we organise and events we attend, and reserve the right to require that people leave our events if they are being racist. We recognise that people with white privilege are sometimes blinded by that privilege when it comes to racism and so people of colour have a better understanding of what is racist and what isn’t. As such, we commit to trusting people of colour about their experiences of racism. Some examples of racist behaviour include:

- the use of racial slurs against marginalised groups;

- romanticising indigenous non-binary identities and the cultural appropriation of those identities;

- cultural appropriation including exhibiting dress, hairstyles, tattoos, that are considered racist by people of colour; and

- expecting people of colour to take on the role of educator. It is not the responsibility of people of colour to educate white people about their racism.

Spaces for People of Colour

We recognise that privileged voices often dominate conversations within our spaces. As such, we commit to creating a people of colour caucus at our gatherings. This caucus can then decide how it wants to operate within the structure of Recovering A Future; whether it wants to elect representatives to committees, run autonomous campaigns, or simply provide a people of colour only space to discuss issues and events.

Working with other organisations

Recovering A Future commits to not working with, sharing a platform with, or accepting money from, any far right, fascist, or racist organisations. This commitment extends to not working with, sharing a platform with, or accepting money from the police (including the National Trans Police Association).

Allocation of Grants

Recovering A Future fundraises to give individual trans people grants in order to facilitate their access to healthcare. As trans healthcare is currently in crisis, it is expected that for the foreseeable future demand for grants will always outweigh our capacity to fundraise. As such, we commit to prioritising grant allocations towards members of marginalised groups. We also commit to ensuring that our 3-person grant allocations committee will always have at least one person of colour on it, or it will not be able to operate.

Further Reading

6 reasons why we need safe spaces

On cultural exchange and cultural appropriation

Binarism: myths and reality

Why No Platform is still relevant and the trouble with liberal ‘anti-fascism’

 

Statement on potential trans-inclusion in Stonewall

As many people in the trans-o-sphere are aware, today Stonewall met with a group of trans professionals, campaigners and activists to discuss the possibilities of trans-inclusion within Stonewall.

Historically, Stonewall England have been very firm about not wanting to allow trans people a voice within their organisation. They have also actively excluded trans people who are L, G and/or B, and released training material that included uncontested transphobic slurs. Rather than simply ignoring trans people, Stonewall have actively harmed trans people.

This has not been well received by the trans community, especially given that Stonewall take their name from a riot started and fought by trans women of colour, a fight that is often credited as the catalyst for the beginning of the LGBT rights movement as we know it today.

Recovering A Future are glad that Stonewall seem to want to put that behind them and we hope that, regardless of how relations between the trans community and Stonewall develop, this will be a turning point for Stonewall that indicates an end to their transphobic behaviour of years past.

We are also concerned that it might be that the trans community can do more for Stonewall than they can do for us: with trans people becoming increasingly visible, thanks to the work of out trans journalists, actors and presenters, such as Laverne Cox and Paris Lees, it seems that transphobia is going out of style, and that paying lip service to trans-inclusion might be a way for more conservative organisations to hike their popularity, especially among younger LGB people.

The attendees of today’s meeting are overwhelmingly white, binary-identified, middle-class, and adult. We believe that there can be no real trans-inclusion that does not listen to the voices of those most marginalised within our community, the voices of disabled trans people, trans people of colour, non-binary trans people, working class trans people, and young trans people. We believe that if Stonewall are truly committed to putting transphobia behind them, these will be the people they prioritise meeting with next.

We’d also like to see Stonewall review their diversity awards policy and stop giving diversity champion awards to organisations that actively harm LGBT people, and have policy to continue actively harming LGBT people, such as the Home Office and the DWP.

We hope that today’s discussions were fruitful and that future consultations are successful, and that Stonewall are really as committed to listening to trans voices as they claim to be. If so, they may yet become a useful and powerful ally in the fight for trans liberation.

Statement regarding the intimidation of trans activists

Recovering A Future wholeheartedly condemns recent attempts to harass, intimidate, and misgender trans activists.

This includes attempts to distribute personal information (doxxing) and deliberately interfering with their economic security through sabotaging their employment. Recovering A Future was founded on the principles of mutual aid and as such we are deeply shocked and disappointed that these attacks have come from both cis and trans* individuals.

We would also like to clarify that Recovering A Future does not officially take any position on issues that are not trans healthcare related, unless otherwise stated in our website or constitution

Call out for responses on difficulty accessing Gender Identity Services

Healthwatch England included a request for information on any difficulties people were having accessing gender identify services. If you are willing to share your experiences (anonymously is fine) please get in touch with them and they will use these experiences help inform the national discussion.

The call out is as follows:

“Have you come across problems with Gender Identity Services?

We want to know if you have found out about difficulties for anyone in accessing gender identity services. This will inform our feedback to NHS England. Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin and Healthwatch Torbay have raised concerns around waiting times and funding for gender reassignment surgery. If you have any evidence you would like us to include, please email us”

The email address to send your comments to Healthwatch is enquiries[@]healthwatchliverpool.co.uk Please put Gender Identity Services responses in the subject line.

If you want Recovering A Future to support you in making a complaint about the service, hospital please copy in info[@]recoveringafuture.org.uk and we will be in touch.

Help us improve your local sexual health service

Sexual health clinics can be a daunting place for anyone. especially when you are trans*.

But regular sexual health screening is important and should be accessible to all. As such Recovering A Future are launching a sexual health audit so you can help improve your local sexual health clinic.

How does it work?

The next time you visit your local sexual health clinic, you fill in a short questionnaire about your experiences. The questionnaire shouldn’t take longer than 20 mins to complete and your information will be kept confidential. The questionnaire can be found here. You might want to familiarise yourself with the questions so you know what to look out for when you go.

Then what?

Recovering A Future will get in touch with the sexual health clinic and, based upon the results of the audit, will offer advice, resources, and tailored training on how to improve if appropriate.

 

Recovering A Future at Sparkle and Buff 2019

The Recovering A Future team headed down to Manchester for the Sparkle weekend armed with flyers and our banner. Heres what our intrepid adventurers got up to.

First we popped along to Buff, a transguy-orientated event. Here is Recovering A Future Trustee and Queer of the Unknown superstar Loz doing some excellent performance poetry.

ATH trustee Loz performs at Buff

 

The next day, we popped down to Canal Street where all the bars were covered in trans* flags. I took this photo at 11am, when everyone was still in bed nursing hangovers. The streets were heaving later on in the day.

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We popped down to Sparkle in Park to hand out flyers and get peoples emails. We came across some lovely people including;

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these fabulous sisters of perpetual indulgence;

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youth workers;

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queer feminist poets;

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and some other lovelies!

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and

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If you are in any of the photos in this post and you want them to be taken down, please contact info[at]recoveringafuture.org.uk and we will do so.

 

Trans* Health Protest at Medical Specialists, Bury

Recovering A Future was recently informed via our membership that Medical Specialists, the online pharmacy, refuses to prescribe endocrine treatment to trans* people, including repeat prescriptions of doses previously established through blood tests.

With the recent furore over Inhouse Pharmacy et al. (see this post for background info, and more here) supplies of hormones for trans* people are precarious at best - especially when NHS waiting lists as that drag on forever and many are priced out of private treatment. Online pharmacies are a literal life-line to many trans* people who need access to transition related healthcare.

As such, we took it upon ourselves to email them expressing concern at their decision to refuse service to trans* patients and inviting them for trans* training:

To whom it may concern,

My name is Jess Bradley and I work for Recovering A Future, an organisation which seeks to facilitate greater access to healthcare for transgender and gender variant people. It has come to our attention, via our membership, that Medical Specialists are refusing to write prescriptions for trans* patients to access Spironolactone.

At Recovering A Future, we believe that trans* patients deserve fair and equal access to healthcare. As such, we would like to express concern at your decision to refuse services on the basis of a patient’s gender history, and to request that you satisfactorily rectify this situation. We would also like to extend an invitation of receiving training on trans* issues by Recovering A Future - please let me know if you are interested in taking us up on this offer.

Kind Regards,

Jess Bradley

Recovering A Future

18th May 2019

 

We waited a full month and received no reply. So we decided to pay their offices in Bury a little visit.

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We knocked on the door and spoke to a staff member who seemed very uncomfortable to see us - which is good, because way too many gatekeepers make decisions about our lives without having to see us. The staff member said that they had received our email and we’re in the process of formulating a response - apparently this process took a full month.

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We handed them over a copy of a letter reiterating our offer of training:

To whom it may concern,

RE: Trans* healthcare

Further to our email dated 18th May 2019 regarding Medical Specialists’ refusal to write prescriptions for trans* patients to access Spironolactone, we note that as we have not yet received a reply to that email it is unlikely that the situation has been satisfactorily rectified.

At Recovering A Future, we believe that trans* patients deserve fair and equal access to healthcare. Trans* people are a vulnerable community for whom access to healthcare is lifesaving. The Trans Mental Health Study 2012 found that trans* people have incredibly high rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts (84% and 35%, respectively) which is drastically reduced (to 3%) after adequate transition related healthcare is provided. As such, we would like to express concern at your decision to refuse services on the basis of a patient’s gender history, and to request that you satisfactorily rectify this situation.

We are aware that many doctors feel unable to prescribe endocrine treatments for trans* patients through a lack of awareness regarding trans* healthcare protocols or the safety of prescribing these treatments to trans* patients. In our previous email, we extended an invitation of training on trans* issues by Recovering A Future. This offer still stands and we would urge you to take it up.

Kind Regards,

Recovering A Future, 2019

We were just about to leave when some staff members came out to talk to us and told us to take the banner down from their fence. One staff member threatened to call the police and get us arrested for breach of the peace - he seemed a bit flummoxed when we told him that we were fine with the police being called. Another staff member said that prescribing endocrine treatment to trans* people was “dangerous”, but they all quickly went back inside and we couldn’t pursue that conversation further.

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Not wanting to seem intimidated by being threatened with police violence, we decided to take one more photo next to their sign in their front garden.

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We left, and when we got back home we sent them another email. We are awaiting their response:

A few of our activists popped round earlier today to deliver a letter (please see attached for an electronic copy). The staff member who answered the door told us that Medical Specialists had yet to formulate a response to our earlier email and that we should expect a response in due course.

In a brief conversation with another staff member it was implied that it prescribing endocrine treatment to trans* patients is “dangerous”. We would like respond to that by pointing out that endocrine treatment is a feature of trans* healthcare that is both legal and safe to prescribe, as many doctors across the country do indeed do. Indeed, given the high risks associated with withholding transition related care, we would suggest it is more dangerous to withhold treatment in the majority of cases. As our letter states, we do appreciate that many doctors do not feel comfortable prescribing based on a lack of knowledge regarding the protocols governing trans* healthcare or regarding the treatments themselves. As such, we would like to reiterate the invitation to provide you with trans* healthcare training.

Kind Regards,

Recovering A Future

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