Terrence Higgins Trust works to amplify the voices of people living with and affected by HIV in the UK and beyond.
Not only do we work to amplify those people’s voices, but we work to support people to thrive and live well with HIV.
This includes our trans and non-binary friends and family.
In 2017, National AIDS Trust produced a report that evidenced prevalence among trans people of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and experiences of violence.
Psychological issues and inter-personal power relationships can often cause lack of concern for general health, wellbeing and sexual health, which can manifest in the form of seeking gender affirmation and affection through sex.
This can lead to vulnerability to HIV through increased risk-taking behaviour that increases the risk of HIV in relation to both sexual practises and attitudes toward prioritising of hormone therapy above treatment and prevention.
Figures from Public Health England show eight HIV diagnoses among trans people in 2017, with 123 trans people accessing HIV care in the UK.
This is why, as the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity, we will be contributing to the Government’s consultation on proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) in England and Wales.
What will we be saying in our consultation response?
As an organisation, Terrence Higgins Trust believes that the current process for legally changing gender is lengthy, costly and places an unnecessary weighting to medical reporting.
Requiring someone to be given a gender dysmorphia diagnosis in order to proceed with an application for legally changing gender is intrusive, wrong and positions being trans as a form of mental illness.
Furthermore, expecting someone to live in their ‘acquired gender’ as a means to justify this legal change is dehumanising and removes the much-needed autonomy for people to self-identify.
Allowing trans people in England and Wales to self-identify would bring us in-line with the system in Ireland, that enables people to do so from the age of 18, with provisions for people aged 16 and 17.
As such, we support calls to reform the current GRA in a way that would overhaul the existing application process, which we believe places an unfair financial and psychological burden on trans people.
Taking forward these changes to the GRA could ensure trans people are able to achieve better health and wellbeing outcomes, which are key in reducing risk of HIV infection.
Terrence Higgins Trust has a proud history of responding to the sexual health needs of trans people and will continue doing so.
The Gender Recognition Act consultation
Learn more about the GRA consultation and how to respond on Stonewall's website.
- Ian Green is the chief executive of Terrence Higgins Trust