Last updated: 30 March 2020
The Scottish Trans Alliance explains that the protected characteristic of gender reassignment covers those ‘who are proposing to undergo, currently undergoing or have undergone a process (or part of a process) of gender reassignment’. In relation to the Equality Act, Scottish Trans note that ‘it is not necessary for people to have any medical diagnosis or treatment to gain this protection; it is a personal process of moving away from one’s birth gender to one’s self-identified gender. A person remains protected, even if they decide not to proceed further with transitioning.’
There is a danger that health care providers might deem gender-affirming health care ‘non-essential’ during this pandemic. Likewise, for trans people with prescriptions for hormones there is a risk that GPs cannot administer injections or trans people cannot leave their homes due to self-isolation (Scottish Trans present helpful guidance that address these concerns). Although efforts have been made to assuage these fears, prior to the pandemic reaching the UK, BBC News reported how some trans people have started to self-medicate with hormones bought online from unregulated sources due to lengthy waiting times to access health services. COVID-19 will likely exacerbate this problem, putting the physical and mental health of trans people at risk.
Other documented inequalities include:
- In Scotland, the public health emergency has led to the likely postponement of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, legislation that is intended to reform the Gender Recognition Act and improve the legal process for changing your birth certificate.