In Response to Daily Mail

An article was published by the Daily Mail regarding Leeds City Council’s new name and gender change procedure which, as mentioned in the article, TransLeeds helped implement. The tone of the article is as you would expect from the Daily Mail and was inaccurate.

Transgender people have always been able to self-declare their gender with council services. This is nothing new and is true across the country. This new system implemented by Leeds City Council streamlines the process and better protects sensitive information. Previously a trans person would have to change their name and gender with each department individually.

Trans people already had access to changing rooms and toilets guaranteed under the Equality Act 2010. This form is so that people can have their correct name and gender on documents relating to council services such as library cards and council tax bills.

We’re pleased to have worked with Leeds City Council to introduce this form which will make the process of changing name and gender with the Council much easier for trans people in Leeds. TransLeeds will support any organisation seeking to introduce similar policies.

TransLeeds was not the organiser of the protest against Jenni Murray. We stood alongside other trans, queer, feminist and arts organisations to oppose bigotry in our city.

Volunteer Positions Available At TransLeeds

Engagement Officer – Volunteer

The primary role of the engagement officer is to facilitate our regular support groups. They will also have a lead role in providing peer support to the community.

All TransLeeds staff are encouraged to participate in social events when they are able.

Primary duties

  • Facilitating the Main Support Group and the Mid Month Support Group
  • Providing online support, and face to face, where necessary.
  • To plan, deliver and assess the impact of support groups, ensuring that a quality service is provided to all service users.
  • To schedule and help in the delivery of social activities, while developing further concepts with group engagement.
  • Engage in TransLeeds staff meetings

Skills

  • The ideal candidate will have experience participating in, or facilitating, similar support groups.
  • You will have excellent communication, listening and social skills.
  • You will have awareness of the diversity of the trans community and working with people from many backgrounds and varying needs.
  • You will have experience dealing with crises and conflict within a group environment.
  • You will have an excellent understanding of :
    ◦ safeguarding
    ◦ professional bounderies
    ◦ Confidentiality
  • An enhanced DBS is required for this position. If you don’t currently have one, we will apply for one for you.

To apply, please send an email detailing how you would be suitable for the role to coordinator@transleeds.lgbt

Closing date for applications:28th February 2019

Social Media Officer – Volunteer

The Social Media Officer is responsible for all of TransLeeds social media accounts. Presently that is primarily Facebook and Twitter and so experience using these platforms is essential. They will be first point of contact for anyone contacting TransLeeds through social media both publically and through private message.

Primary Duties

  • Keeping TransLeeds social media presence updated with latest news and relevant info.
  • Expanding TransLeeds’ social media presence
  • Promptly responding to messages through social media
  • Liaising with other staff members
  • Attending staff meetings

Skills

  • Confidentiality – Sensitive information may be communicated through these channels and so a strong understanding of confidentiality is required.
  • Communication – Our social media accounts receive messages from both service users and organisations and it will be your responsibility to communicate with them and/or forward them to the relevant staff.
  • Facebook and Twitter – These are the two main platforms we currently use and so having experience with them will help. If you have experience running Facebook pages or accounts similar to TransLeeds then that’s even better!
  • Other Social Media Platforms – We would like to expand our reach through social media and so will be looking into setting up social media accounts on other platforms.

To apply, please send an email detailing how you would be suitable for the role to coordinator@transleeds.lgbt

Closing date for applications:28th February 2019

What’s Wrong With “Woman : Adult Human Female”?

Anti-trans hate groups in the UK have been rallying around the slogan “Woman : Adult Human Female”. It all began in 2018 when the government began its consultation into reforming the Gender Recognition Act. Seems simple, right? It’s just the definition of the word Woman from Google. But it’s being used in a most sinister way.

To understand the intention behind the slogan, we need to talk about the Gender Recognition Act.

What is the Gender Recognition Act?

The Gender Recognition Act was first brought into law in 2004. At the time it was groudbreaking. It’s purpose was to allow trans people to correct the gender on their birth certificates. That is essentially all it was for. In terms of legal protection of trans people, the Equalities Act is far more important.

So it was great at the time, but that was 15 years ago, and society’s understanding of trans identities has come a long way. In hindsight, law makers are beginning to realise that the system that was put in place for trans people to update their birth certificate is convoluted, expensive, ineffective, and not fit for purpose. Countries all over the world have put in place far better systems and the UK has been left in their dust. We were once trailblazers, but now we just want to catch up.

What is being proposed for the new Gender Recognition Act is to allow trans people to update their gender on their birth certificates by something similar to a statutory declaration, which will streamline the process and remove one of the humiliating layers of gate-keeping that’s involved in many people’s transition.

There are other things we would like changed. At the moment there is no legal recognition of non-binary people at all, so we would like that to be included. By the government’s survey of LGBT people last year, over 7000 of the 14,000 trans respondents identify as non-binary. If the new Gender Recognition Act doesn’t include non-binary people, then it is falling very very short of its purpose.

It’s important to note that binary trans people can already update all their other identification, including passports, driver’s license, and even NHS records without the need of the Gender Recognition Act. It is only birth certificates where the GRA applies.

Why Do Anti-Trans Hate Groups Hate The GRA?

Really, they just hate trans women. And only trans women. Trans men and non-binary people are very rarely mentioned by them.

They believe that being a woman is entirely about their reproductive ability. This is a concept known as bioessentialism.  They believe that woman are oppressed due to their genital configuration.

This is a really bizarre concept coming from groups who like to think of themselves as feminists. Reducing what it means to be a woman down to genitalia isn’t feminism; it’s misogyny. Plain and simple. We are so much more than walking wombs.

What brings all women together under feminism is our struggle against misogyny in a patriarchal society. Reproductive rights are a part of that, certainly, but by no means is that the only struggle we have.

Anyway, they don’t want trans women to have any legal recognition or protection at all, let alone what little recognition we have at present. They would rather the Gender Recognition Act be scrapped than for trans women to have even the slightest improvement in their quality of life. Even at the cost of all other trans people.

They make false claims that the reform of the Gender Recognition Act will allow trans women into women only spaces like public toilets and women’s refuges. However, these rights are afforded to trans people by the Equalities Act 2010 which has nothing to do with the GRA. It’s just transphobic fear-mongering similar to the moral panic of the 80s against gay people.

Ok, So What Were You Saying About That Slogan?

“Woman : Adult Human Female”

It seems so innocuous. But think about the intent of it. The message the hate groups are trying to put across is that to be a woman, your sex must be female. There is a distinction between gender and sex. It’s kinda messy, since the idea of “biological sex” isn’t as black and white as many people believe. To put it simply, sex is what you are assigned at birth based on a quick glance between your legs, gender is what you are. Maybe you are a man, and you were correctly assumed to be male at birth. Then you’re a cisgender man. But if you are a woman, and the doctor miscategorized you as male at birth, then you are a transgender woman.

It’s messy. I agree. And that’s one reason why the slogan is so often misconstrued as a positive message. Many people would say trans women are adult human females so this is a message of inclusion.

No.

Their message is very clear, both in their writings and at their demonstrations. They refer to trans women and “male-bodied people” who are “performing femininity”. They believe very strongly that trans women can not be women and to accept them as such puts women, and the concept of womanhood at risk. This is the message behind their slogan.

Going back to the Gender Recognition Act briefly, many countries in the world already have a system in place similar to the one we want for the UK. Ireland, our closest neighbor, has allowed trans people to self declare their gender since 2015 and all the apocalyptic prophecies of the hate groups have failed to materialise. Society has carried on, except trans people can now correct their gender a little bit easier.

So again, remember the intent of their message! Someone could say “Nice glasses!” which sounds like a lovely compliment, but no, those glasses are terrible and you are being cruelly mocked for them.

We’ve Been Nominated In The Owlies LGBT Awards

The shortlist for the Owlies LGBT Awards has been announced and the final round of voting is now open!

TransLeeds has been nominated for best Organisation and best Social Group!

Our coordinator, Natasha Handley, has been nominated for best Organisation Worker!

Trans Pride Leeds has been nominated for best event as well as our favourite queer night Dyke Chambers!

Thank you so much for nominating us. You can show your support by voting before 31st January 2019 and please spread the word! <3

http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/TheOwlieShortlist2018/

Changing Your Name In The UK

One of the best things about being trans in the UK is that changing your name is a doddle.

All you need to do is print out a sheet of A4 that says your name used to be such-and-such, it is now such-and-such, and you require everyone to use this new name in future. Then you get two friends to sign it and voila! You’ve legally changed your name. No solicitors. No courts. No registration. That is literally all it takes.

This sheet of paper is called a Deed Poll.  A good website for generating your deed poll is https://freedeedpoll.org.uk/ .  There are other websites which charge for the pleasure of having your deed poll registered, or some other service, but those really aren’t necessary.

Pro tip: Print multiple copies and get them signed in case one gets lost. Also, some places require your original deed poll rather than a photocopy so it’s handy to have more copies spare.

Where Can I Use My New Deed Poll?

Practically anywhere. A deed poll is all that is needed to update your details with:

  • Banks
  • Energy Companies
  • Phone Contracts
  • Broadband
  • HMRC
  • NHS
  • Driving Licence
  • University/college
  • Council

NHS & Gender Identity Clinic

Changing your name with the NHS is easy, just show them your deed poll, but changing your gender marker is done in an odd way. It is not possible to update your medical records with a new gender, so they have to create a new NHS number for you with your updated gender, and then transfer your details across to the new file. Most GPs should be able to arrange this for you.

Be sure the contact the Gender Identity Clinic AND your GP about the change in name or gender since these two places don’t share information, and if the GIC has out of date info, it could affect the waiting list.

Exam Results

Your exam board can update your old exam results as well. If you went to a gendered school (eg all girls or all boys school), the exam board can even update the school you studied at so your exam certificates don’t out you.  They may need additional ID to do this, but with your deed poll you can get that ID. More information about this can be found at https://www.aqa.org.uk/contact-us/past-results-and-lost-certificates

Passports

Passports are a little trickier. It is simple enough to change your name with a deed poll (for a fee), but changing that pesky gender marker is more difficult.

To change the gender marker on your passport, you need a letter from your GP or the GIC stating the following

This is to confirm that my patient previously know as [insert patient’s old name and date of birth], is currently undergoing gender reassignment and as part of the process has changed their name by statutory declaration to [insert patient’s current name] on [date of the change].

[insert patient’s current name] now lives as [insert patient’s gender] and this change is intended to be permanent.

There is also the usual fee for updating a passport. More information about updating your passport can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/applying-for-a-passport-information-for-transgender-and-transsexual-customers

Birth Certificates

Birth Certificates are the only thing you need a Gender Recognition Certificate to update.

To acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) you need to have been living “in-role” for at least two years, and have been diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria. You can then apply through these forms : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/applying-for-a-passport-information-for-transgender-and-transsexual-customers

There is a charge of £140 and sadly there is no guarantee that you will be successful in your application. It is really hit and miss. However, the government is currently reviewing the Gender Recognition Act which could make it a lot easier for transgender people to update the gender on their birth certificates. This could be some time in 2019, but the government has a lot on their hands at the moment so I doubt they are rushing this.

Having a birth certificate in your gender will also let you update your gender with HMRC. This is important because it will decide your pension age, and if you were to die, your birth certificate could have the wrong gender on it.

Unfortunately, there is still no legal recognition of non-binary people in the UK and so I don’t believe there is anywhere that can change a gender maker to anything other than M or F. This is hopefully going to change with the review of the Gender Recognition Act.

Flamingos Coffee House

Flamingos is a brand new LGBT coffee house in central Leeds! They’ve been in touch with us in the run up to their opening to ensure the space is inclusive for everyone.  Soon the staff will have their own pronoun badges.

We’re really happy to have a new social space for the LGBT+ community that is away from the bars and clubs. 🙂 They have delicious tea, coffee, and food including loads of vegan options and a Rainbow Cake of which the proceeds will be going to a different community focused LGBT group or charity every month.

The toilet is 100% gender neutral and accessible.

 

The Leeds Binder Library Is Back!

Hello everyone!

We are so so excited to say that gc2b have sent us 34 binders!! We want to say a massive thank you to gc2b and announce that our binder library now holds binders in every size so if anyone needs one to swap or simply to have do let us know.

Again a massive thank you to gc2b!

Lush Leeds

Lush are vocal and active supporters of the trans community.  There are many articles on their website in support of trans rights.

Let’s Talk About Gender
https://uk.lush.com/article/lets-talk-about-gender#comments

“Transgender and non-binary people are our neighbors, our friends, our coworkers and our classmates.”
https://www.lushusa.com/story?cid=article_trans-rights-are-human-rights

How to Be a Trans Ally – A Beginner’s Guide
https://www.lushusa.com/article_how-to-be-trans-ally.html

They also do fundraising for trans charities, including TransLeeds, and have donated loads of their fragrant goodies to the trans community in Leeds.

Yorkshire Dance

Yorkshire Dance is a dance charity on St Peter’s Square opposite the BBC Building.

They have gender neutral toilets available and the building is accessible.  Their changing rooms are gendered however they have signs on the doors saying that they respect gender diversity and anyone is free to use the facilities they feel most comfortable in.

They have had trans awareness training provided by Mermaids and the Essentials Workshop run by TransLeeds is hosted there.

Their job application forms include multiple gender options including non binary, though I don’t think their system currently supports the Mx title.

They are part of Performing Gender and run the Gender Moves projects which explore gender and sexuality and interpreting them through dance.