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Inequalities in transgender health

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Patients who identify as non-binary still struggle to have their health needs met

It’s been eight years since the Equality Act1 came into force and healthcare inequality for the LGBT community should be a thing of the past. However, while new policies are being introduced to tackle inequality issues faced by some branches of the population, the transgender community continues to be left behind.

As of April 2019, nurses will be required to record the sexual orientation of all patients in face-to-face appointments thanks to a new monitoring mandate. The Sexual Orientation Monitoring policy, however, applies to sexual orientation only and not gender identity, forcing the transgender community to remain without any monitoring of their own.

‘It’s hard because it’s a very varied population, and quite difficult to get any kind of monitoring,’ said Bernard Reed, trustee at Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES), a transgender society.

‘Even the question, how do you differ sex in men and women, can be confusing. Across the UK there are those that are non-binary and identify very firmly with a gender which is not offered.’

The Equality Act (2010) stipulates legal protection within healthcare and that public sector bodies must: ‘take steps to meet the needs of persons who share a relevant protected characteristic that are different from the needs of persons who do not share it.’

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