Trans Community in Scotland Protests Against NHS and Scottish Government Betrayal

In Glasgow on Thursday, around 400 trans people and allies gathered in George Square to protest the decision by the NHSGGC and Sandyford management to implement the Cass Recommendations in Glasgow and possibly Lothian – effectively banning transition care for under 18s – despite vast opposition to Cass and questions surrounding its authority in Scotland. 

We spoke to a source in the City of Glasgow Council, who for now would like to remain anonymous, and they explained the situation: 

“The Cass Review has questions to answer, and is only for England and Wales.” According to this source, Scotland has its own review, based on which we would expect decisions to be made, and movement has been slow around this. Compared to the process thus far, this decision was made “surprisingly quickly.” 

“We would ask: under what clinical and management authority were these decisions made?” 

The Organisers said in their press release: 

  • “The ban was decided without any consultation with service users, external experts, families or carers.” 
  • “Currently, the Sandyford has an effective monopoly on NHS trans healthcare on under 18s in Scotland. The NHSGGC decision will therefore impact young people across the country”

They included a quote from a parent, who remained anonymous because of safety concerns:

“It is quite clear that this is a political decision and has nothing to do with patient or clinical safety if cis children will continue to be prescribed blockers. It is unfortunate that GGC and/or the Scottish Government have ultimately been influenced by far right policies like those in Florida and other US States”

An organiser for the protest: “We have done nothing to deserve this”

“…Using us as a political football for American-funded, politically manufactured ‘culture wars’ is utterly abhorrent. We are a tiny minority group, yet every day there is constant, unrelenting negative media and press stories

about us, it is literally never ending.

We are sick and tired of being lied about and presented as sexual predators and monsters. The impact on our mental health is enormous, not only are we

dealing with the cost of living crisis and the decline of our economy, we’re also dealing with the incredible stress of having our human rights and our autonomy

stripped away from us by people who know absolutely nothing about us.”

You can follow their Instagram for more about this and future protests @transprotestglasgow

WTT at the protest:

The demonstration was organised on a day’s notice, and there was no visible counter protest, nor notable solidarity attendance by any organisation. Despite this, around 400 people turned out and palpable was the feeling of anger, fear, and resolve amongst the crowd.

The WTT team spent some time leafleting our material and taking pictures, as well as speaking to people in the crowd.

The mic was open, and speakers at the protest included Dr Ruth Pearce (a trans health expert from Glasgow University), Jen Bell of the Scottish Greens, Elaine Gallagher also of the Scottish Greens, and many young trans people who talked about their fears of being denied treatment. 

A trans teacher spoke about her queer pupils asking: 

“Miss is it going to be okay?
…and I can’t say Yes”

The trans and questioning children who are at the centre of this conversation are in community with one another, and they understand exactly what is happening to them. While we are focussed on the bigger picture, I was taken by their confidence and eloquence when speaking of their experiences.

Speaker sharing a story about speaking to a trans kid they knew through their work, who, speaking of their many friends who had died of suicide: 

“Yeah, you know how it is.” 

And we do. We are used to just how extreme what is currently happening to us in the UK is, and the real effects it has on us. We have been sounding the alarm for years, but we are now feeling the UK’s uniquely slow and bureaucratic oppression start to bite, and it’s not going to stop.

Right now in Glasgow our community is doing all it can to fight back, and for now we have some options. Reach out to your trans friends, and ask them what you can do. We are all in this together. 

See you out there. 

Photo credits: Luci Wilson and @goffeephotography

Article credit: Luci Wilson