A digital place for people who access services, carers, staff and partner agencies, to share ideas around care co-ordination & care planning in mental health

A Trans Awareness Workshop facilitated by Lee Gale is planned for 19th June 2014, click here for further information and to book.

Here are my reflections on a Trans Awareness session I attended – facilitated by Lee Gale too:

I attended Trans Awareness Training earlier this year; it was aimed at ‘people that develop and implement strategy; commissioners, managers and leaders’ and ‘provided the opportunity to discuss legislation and organisational responsibilities, including improving the provision of all services to trans people, supporting trans staff and equality monitoring’.

The group was facilitated by Lee Gale from TransBareAll, an organisation that works with the trans community, helping people accept their bodies and live more fulfilling lives, visit www.transbareall.co.uk for more information.  Lee was a very engaging facilitator who had a great depth of knowledge to share; he presented the legislative responsibilities that organisations and individuals have as well as bringing examples of best practice that served to highlight the importance and relevance of being trans welcoming.

I was alarmed at recent research findings of the 2012 Trans Mental Health Study.  The study, using an online questionnaire based survey, had 889 respondents recruited via support groups, forums and existing databases, a snowballing effect took place within the Trans community which maximised access to potential participants.  Some of the key findings particularly relevant to mental health were:

62% of people who had used Gender Identity Clinic services experienced one or more negative interactions, 63% in general mental health services, and 65% in general health services. For nearly 30% of respondents, a healthcare professional had refused to discuss a trans-related health concern.

Over 80% of people had experienced silent harassment (e.g. whispering, pointing).

Over 37% had experienced physical threats or intimidation for being trans, 19% had been hit or beaten up for being trans. 25% had to move away from family or friends for being trans.

These figures shine a light on some of the values, attitudes and subsequently behaviours prevalent within both the general public and the health service.  Values and attitudes can be difficult to shift; perhaps raising awareness and understanding through education will help to improve the experience that trans people have.

I can see the value of having policies, procedures and protocols in place within organisations; indeed, these must be in place as ‘Gender Reassignment’ falls within one of the 9 protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010.  And, the Gender Recognition Act 2004 gives people the opportunity to acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate and importantly Section 22 affords people confidentiality, ensuring people are not ‘outed’ inadvertently.  The legislation goes a way to ‘protect people’ but is limited in changing the day-to-day experiences of people.

Top Tips for working with Trans People published by TransBareAll in 2013 provides people with a basic understanding of trans people and their needs and gives tips on how you can best support people in your role and in the workplace.  This is a practical guide that provides people with key actions to take to make your work place welcoming for trans people as well as covering language, law and some learning. A very well put together guide.

Overall, the training provided information and guidance that was useful, combining legislation with practical advice; I would recommend attending and then sharing the learning to raise awareness.

So, how does this relate to ‘Planning Care’? – well, perhaps we should ask ourselves:

Is the service I work in welcoming for trans people? 

What can I do to be more welcoming?

Am I treating people respectfully and challenging inequality?

Am I maintaining people’s confidentiality?

Just a few points to muse over…….. thanks for reading.



Comments on: "Trans Awareness Training – a personal reflection" (3)

  1. Iain Turnbull said:

    Hi Donna. Being a humble male, a lot of this is new to me , sorry can you tell me what Trans is, my dictionary doesn’t tell me apart from travelling ie: Trans Atlantic, I’m pretty sure it’s not that. Thanks. Iain Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2014 14:32:42 +0000 To: iain54@live.co.uk


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Dr Sally Pezaro

This is the research blog of Dr Sally Pezaro. Sally is 'The Academic Midwife' working to secure excellence in maternity services. Specialist interests include maternity services, workforce and midwifery research.



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