Sheffield Activist Training Day

Action for Trans Health are teaming up with Sheffield IWW to hold a training day in Sheffield.

Jess Bradley from Action for Trans Health will be visiting Sheffield to deliver training for trans activists. Join us in learning about:
– Campaigns planning and training
– Setting up a group
– Training people how to give trans-friendly sexual health training to health professionals

Keira James of IWW Sheffield (UK) Branch will be talking about trans solidarity and the successful campaign against transphobic discrimination from her employers.

This event is open to all. Respectful cis people are welcome but please be aware that this is not a trans 101. If you are cis and want to come, we will be sending you homework beforehand. Please note this on your booking form.

Booking:
Places are limited so please book online here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/111BiCNOIxjiMVN3jIuzp33Dy_EL7zU2C2YJNu3ec54g/viewform?usp=send_form

There is a travel fund available if you can’t afford to get here (this fund will prioritise trans people of colour). Get in touch at info@actionfortranshealth.org.uk

Access information: the conference room at SYAC is on the first floor, accessible via the lift, there are accessible toilets on the same floor. A quiet space will be provided on the day. If you have any additional access needs please mention this on the booking form and we will do our best to meet them.

Training is free to attend. Donations towards the Action for Trans Health solidarity fund are welcomed. The solidarity fund is used to help UK based trans and intersex people access healthcare, with priority given to those who are facing greater barriers than most.

Solidarity Actions with the Junior Doctor Strikes

We know that the workplace conditions of healthcare professionals make up patients healthcare conditions. The new junior doctor contract represents a 30% real term pay cut to doctors salary. More than that though, it puts patients lives at risk by putting overworked and overtired doctors in charge our lives.

[The BMA / junior doctors strikes have been postponed til the end of the negotiation period as the government have come back to negotiation table. This represents a short term win for the doctors. Dont go to the picket lines tomorrow! Keep tuned in because strikes are still likely to happen if the govt doesnt offer significant changes to the contract.]

Junior doctors make up 65,000 members of NHS staff. They have overwhelmingly voted to go on strike, and have put in place mechanisms to strike in such a way that patients will not be put at risk. Action for Trans Health support the junior doctors strikes and are encouraging trans and queer people to support the strikes by attending picket lines, demonstrations, writing to your MP, and raising awareness on social media. Joining picket lines are an excellent way of building solidarity and coalition building between trans service users and healthcare professionals.

We are looking to create a list of picket lines where Action for Trans Health or other trans / queer organisations are joining the picket line in solidarity with junior doctors. If you are trans / queer and interested in popping down to your local picket on either the 1st, 8th, or 16th of December and want to be listed here, or have any further questions, get in touch info[at]actionfortranshealth.org.uk

Manchester: Manchester Action for Trans Health are joining pickets at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, 8.30am on the 1st December, potentially might join actions on the 8th and 16th too (to be confirmed).

Leeds: Leeds Action for Trans Health are planning on supporting picket lines (exact details to be confirmed).

Sheffield: Queer Agenda Sheffield are meeting at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital at 8am on the 1st December. Potentially future actions in the junior doctors on the other days (to be confirmed).

Liverpool: Liverpool Action for Trans Health are going to be joining the picket line on the 8th December (which picket to be confirmed).

Alternative Trans Day of Remembrance 2015 Manchester

Join us to remember those we have lost from transphobic violence, discrimination and harassment. Organised by trans people, for trans people (although respectful cis allies are welcome).

Please bring candles with jam jars to hold them in, and flowers if you can afford them. We will be collecting donations to cover the cost of putting on the event, if we take in more money than it cost to put on the excess with be donated to a trans charity.

The venue:
Nexus Art Cafe, 3 Dale Street just off Oldham Street in the Northern Quarter.

Access:
The venue is wheelchair accessible through the Methodist Chapel on Oldham Street. The Dale Street entrance involves a flight of stairs.

Food / Drink:
There will be cakes and coffees / teas on sale at the venue. There is usually some form of gluten free and vegan cakes on sale. The venue is alcohol free.

Toilets:
The venue has flat access gendered toilets that are accessible with a code. The code numbers will be stuck on the doors so people do not have to ask venue staff for the code.

Facebook event here

Solidarity Fund Now Open for Applications

Our solidarity fund is now open for applications. The deadline for applications is the 15th November 2015.

Who can apply?
We are offering small grants for to help UK based trans and intersex people access healthcare. Any trans, cure nonbinary, intersex or otherwise gender nonconforming person based in the UK can apply. We have a specific fund ringfenced for grants to black trans people and are particularly keen to receive applications from trans people of colour.

What can you apply for?
We take a very broad definition of healthcare, and in the past have paid for appointments with doctors, therapy sessions, stipends to support people undergoing surgery, binders / packers / breast forms, clothes etc. We only ask that if the money is being used to access medication which will be needed long-term, that the applicant has thought about how to secure the long-term supply after the grant money has been spent. Its a small fund and we are unlikely to give a grant of over £500 to one individual.

How can I donate to fund?
100% of our donations and membership dues received through the website currently go into our solidarity fund. You can donate to the solidarity fund using the paypal button below, or become a member of Action for Trans Health here.

Help us to provide access to essential healthcare today.

How do I apply?
The application process is pretty simple. Fill in this short form, giving as much details about your situation as you can. After we have received your application, our administrator will anonymise it and pass it on to our funding panel who decide how to allocate the funds. If you have any questions, please get in touch at info[at]actionfortranshealth[dot]org[dot]uk

Upcoming: Activist Training Day and AGM

Join Action for Trans Health for an exciting weekend of activist training, plotting, and networking with awesome trans activists.

On the 21st Nov we will be having an activist training day: learn about organising for democratic healthcare, taking direct action, healthcare advocacy, and more… including an open mic night in the evening.

On the 22nd we will be having our AGM. Featuring a debate on tactics and strategy, elections of the new committee, picking priority campaigns for the year ahead, and our accountability sessions.

Are you interested in running for a spot on the Action for Trans Health committee? Have a look here for more information.

To vote to set policy and in our elections you need to be an Action for Trans Health member, join here

Register to come here

We have a small travel / childcare budget to help people attend. This resource will be prioritised for trans people of colour, disabled people, and people with caring responsibilities. Get in touch by emailing info@actionfortranshealth.org.uk if you need to use the travel / childcare budget to attend.

Venue: LGBT Foundation, Richmond Street, Manchester. Venue is wheelchair accessible and will have a quiet space. Get in touch via info@actionfortranshealth.org.uk

Around the Toilet / Postcards for Toilet Campaigns

Are you campaigning for a gender-neutral toilet in your school, campus or workplace? Against closures to public toilets in your town-centre? For you workplace to improve the accessibility of its toilets?

You’re in luck. Recently Action for Trans Health has collaborated on the Around the Toilet project, with campaigners from the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, Queer of the Unknown, and researchers from Sheffield Hallam, Sheffield Uni and Leeds Uni. Throughout this project we have been collecting people’s stories of using public toilets. Some of these stories have been illustrated by Smizz, a fab graphical artist, and turned into postcards.

We have a limited number of postcards which people can use for campaigns to improve access to toilets for trans, queer, and/or disabled people. We recommend writing your own stories / ideas for improvement on the back and sending them to whoever is in charge of making decisions: your headteacher, your estates manager, your local councillor. This would make a great co-ordinated campaign for LGBT society, trans youth group, or trans support group. Don’t forget to take a photo of your stories and send them to us too! (via twitter or email)

Have a look at the postcards below. If you want some for use in campaigns, give us a shout with how many of each postcard you want via email info@actionfortranshealth.org.uk. We have a limited supply so we will try to do our best to send you want you want. Priority will be given to groups who have affiliated to Action for Trans Health. Please consider donating to cover the cost of postage and maybe a little extra 😉 The donate button is at the end of this blog.

Here are the postcards!

Gender Divisions:

why do we have gender divisions in toilets?

 

 

This happened at uni:

"No this is your toilet"  This happened in my first year at uni

 

 

What makes toilets accessible?:

 

What makes toilets accessible?  "I cant drink when I go out wearing a dress, as I dont want to have to use the toilet. It really affects me not having access to non gender toilets" Gender Differences: 

Only baby changing facilities in the female toilets... but not in the male toilets

 

 

Who should public toilets be for?:
"Who should toilets be for?"  "err... the public?"  "yes, but the public is not a homogenous mass"

 

Choosing journeys:

We choose places and journeys based on the accessibility of disabled toilets

 

Sleeping Rough: Once, I slept rough as I had no money for a hotel / hostel so I slept for 30 mins in a public toilet. I'm wondering what homeless people would do if public toilets werent there

 

Toilets in Film:"I think the revealing thing is that people dont go to the toilet at all in films"

Hypersexualized Culture: "My mum ended up slutshaming me?!"

Hand dryers:"I'm not going in there... the hand-dryers scare me!"

 

Why are toilets funny?:"Why are toilets funny?"  "Barriers to access are not funny, but it shouldnt all be serious" "Toilet noises are funny"

Toilet Paper Unravelled: 
What did we used to get told about public toilets as a kid?

The toilet revolution!: The toilet revolution!  Western culture sees private toilets as being more civilised, but is it? To donate to costs of postage and other costs please click the link below:

Help us to provide access to essential healthcare today.

 

 

Autumn 2015 Funding Round Announced

We are really happy to announce that we will be opening applications for a new round of solidarity funding on the 29th October 2015 (deadline: 15th November 2015). This fund will be allocated to trans (including non-binary) and intersex people to help them access healthcare. At the moment, we have about £1000 in the fund. Any additional monies raised through donations and Action for Trans Health dues between now and the deadline will be added to the fund. We would love to reach our target of giving away £1750 this Autumn, so please get fundraising and donating if you can! You can see where the previous grants went here. Donate using the button below:

Help us to provide access to essential healthcare today.

Help us to provide access to essential healthcare today.

Healthcare is a right, not a prize

You wouldnt catch me in a beauty pageant anytime soon, but I don’t knock the women for whom that is a thing they wanna do. But Miss Transgender UK’s first prize of gender confirmation surgery has left me speechless. Jess Bradley writes

A few days ago the Miss Transgender UK facebook page posted an update detailing the first, second, and third prizes for their beauty pageant to be held next week. The first prize is £5000 cash and a £10,000 worth of gender affirmation surgery, the second prize is £1000 cash and one facial feminisation procedure. The third prize is £500 cash and a makeover.

We started Action for Trans Health because we saw so many of our friends having to crowdfunds their transitions. We noticed it always seemed to be the prettiest, the whitest, the most middle class people who achieved their goals the quickest. We set up Action for Trans Health to do things differently. We believe that access to hormones, surgeries and other transition related treatments are basic, necessary, and life-saving. They are not prizes akin to a cruise or an open-top car. Making them prizes just makes our basic healthcare needs seem like luxuries: cosmetic and elective.

Our solidarity fund is overseen by a democratically elected committee who employ an independent funding panel to allocate funds according to who needs it most. This beauty pageant seems to be allocating funds according to who is the prettiest (read: most cis-normative looking?). I cant help but imagine how devastating and dysphoria-inducing it must be to get your hopes up of winning the “prize” to have them dashed because a bunch of strangers judged you to not be attractive enough. A whole bunch of people are desperate for access to trans healthcare, and I don’t blame anyone for entering such a pageant for those reasons, or indeed any other really. But I can’t support the idea of basic healthcare being a “prize” for those seen as most attractive in the service of a profit making venture such as Miss Transgender UK.

Our solidarity fund is just one part of what we do at Action for Trans Health, because we know that for all trans people to have access to healthcare, we need to campaign against the idea that our healthcare is cosmetic and elective. The campaigning work that we have done has been hard work, taking us from picket lines to Parliament and back again. We need more than spectacles offering healthcare to the few, but to build a movement which demands healthcare for the many. We hope that instead of giving money to Miss Transgender UK, you donate to our solidarity fund below… and instead of joining them at their pageant, you join the movement which fights for democratic trans healthcare today.

Help us to provide access to essential healthcare today.

Help us to provide access to essential healthcare today.

 

 

On gay marriage and the crisis of queer relevance

Recently I was invited to speak on “the future of LGBT activism” at Manchester’s Political Pride. I was on the panel with Hope Winter-Hall, an original member of the UK Gay Liberation Front; Florence Okoye; member of the AfroFutures collective; and Alex Young, a trans activist and Christian. Hope talked about some of the tactics of early GLF and the importance of finding your own personal revolution. Florence discussed the intersections of queerness, blackness and futurism, and highlighted the need to queer all of our institutions. Alex talked about his experiences as a queer person of faith and the importance of understanding our experiences as both systematic and subjective. What follows is my thoughts about the future of queer activism, in a post gay marriage era. Jess Bradley writes:

Since the implementation of gay marriage, the LGB movement has been experiencing an identity crisis. We have “equality” now. Or at least, it seems so the straight cis people who determine third sector funding priorities. For large organisations such as Stonewall, this has led to a crisis of relevance: how can they justify their continued existence as institutions when LGB people appear to have legal equality? (Perhaps this is a problem that Stonewall foresaw, given its rather sluggish support of gay marriage).

They have dealt with this crisis of relevance is to incorporate the T into their work. Trans people are politically relevant right now, what with the “transgender tipping point”, Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox, and more visible areas of concern that need addressing (transphobic violence, healthcare, etc.). Of course, they could have incorporated the T into their work a long time ago, but made a strategic decision to do so now as the threat of funding irrelevance outweighed the threat of pissing off TERFs and other transphobes. This is an observation not (necessarily) a criticism. Organisations like Stonewall strategically choose to operate in a way which pleases their funders and that necessarily involves avoiding controversy in order to keep their staff in work. Organisations like Action for Trans Health have a different set of priorities and use a different set of strategies, but perhaps if our interests align at some point we will work together. (Riffing off what Hope said, I think having a sense of what your interests are is part of understanding your own personal revolution).

Whilst the increased attention on trans issues which comes with Stonewall incorporating the T is a good thing, I tend to think that simply incorporating new identities into the existing ways of doing things might not be all that. Do we simply keep on adding new identities when the ‘old ones’ become less politically relevant? How much does this incorporation of new identities involve lipservice and how much involves an institutional change? Perhaps we need to do things differently, use a new set of tactics which involve incorporating the most vulnerable from the offset not just when its politically convenient.

If we need a new set of tactics and priorities, then what? At this stage, I would like to return to the specific moment of getting gay marriage, because I believe it holds a lot of answers to the current question of priorities, strategies and relevance. Gay marriage is, in the history of marriage, a bit of an anomaly. In the past, in Europe and the US, marriage has generally tended to be an institution foisted upon new groups without their consent, rather than something actively asked for. Marriage was devised as a way of denying aristocratic women property rights, then was applied to the working classes to create more stable (read: manageable) nuclear family units, and to black slaves and ex-slaves in the US to tie them to their master’s estates. So it is interesting that LGB activists have seemingly asked for gay marriage, in the most part within a wider set of demands, and how the official response has been to assume that was all that was being asked for. Its also pretty interesting that the Tories, hardly known for their love of the queer community, were the ones who passed the law. Perhaps this was to try and shed their image of being the “nasty party”, or perhaps gay marriage, too, offers something useful in terms of managing populations.

I am reminded of a recent conversation I had with my racist uncle. We were talking about the immigration crisis and the fact that many migrants are Muslim. He said “Why are you defending Muslims? If you go ‘over there’ you won’t get your gay marriage”. In saying this, my uncle created a conflict between queers and Muslims: we (white, non-Muslims) are “tolerant” to gays, more “civilised” than the racialized Muslim other overseas. (Its interesting how my uncle is only ever concerned about gay rights when he has something racial to prove, it’s a shallow solidarity). This construction of Europe as a bastion of tolerance is widespread (see Israel’s pinkwashing of the conflict with Palestine for another example) but blind to history: most countries with anti-gay laws had them passed by European colonial powers, or more recently by neo-colonial theocratic leaders installed by the US with the backing of Europe. Its also blind to the fact that many Muslims are queer, and many queers are Muslim. Simply put, you’re still homophobic if your vision of tolerance towards queers only extends to the white non-Muslim ones. My friend and comrade Sonia talks more about this in her blog inspired by this discussion here.

Drawing on this phenemona, Jasbir Puar in her Terrorist Assemblages talks about how gay marriage is being used to codify a Western set of values in order to justify the othering of black and brown people in Europe and the global south. Essentially, gay marriage and other LGBT issues are being played off against race. This dynamic is shown with UK marriage as at the same time we see the implementation of same sex marriage legislation, we also see changes to immigration legislation which restricts the spouses of British citizens from getting citizenship unless the citizen earns over a certain amount (which started of around £18k, although my friend said recently it had risen). As such, whilst we see same sex couples being incorporated into the institution of marriage, we also see a whole bunch of immigrants whose partners earn less than the required amount excluded. At the same time we also have the spousal veto for married trans people, whereby their partners can veto their legal gender recognition, also excludes a significant amount of trans people from the institution of marriage.

To me, the question of what the LGBT movement does now that we have gay marriage is obvious, the marriage legislation is quite clearly pointing us towards a focus on immigration and anti-racist queer activism, and changes to gender recognition legislation and abolition of gender gatekeepers more generally. However, for the LGBT movement to focus on the rights of LGBT asylum seekers / immigrants or trans people excluded from basic healthcare / recognition, necessarily involves a change of focus away from existing models of activism led by white cis LGB people. This is increasingly relevant as Europe’s leaders fail to address a growing refugee crisis internationally and UK governments slash funding for healthcare and various social support mechanisms. Following what Alex and Florence said in their speeches, we need to understand that white cis LGB experiences do not always produce the same understandings or priorities as those of other groups, and that part of queering our activist institutions involves a radical openness to collaborating with other groups and letting other people lead. This should occur alongside an openness to allowing ourselves to make mistakes as we learn about other peoples experiences, and a commitment to educating ourselves so we “fail better” next time.

We gave away £1,646 this Summer: this is where it went

In our June/July 2015 funding round, we gave away £1,646 to trans people to facilitate access to healthcare. It went to fund or part-fund various things, such as initial assessments with a private doctor, binders and packers, contributions to a post-surgical sick leave, and travel costs to GICs.

Heres what one of the recipients said about receiving the fund:

This money is such a lifeline: I feel as if I can finally get things moving. Thanks so much to Action for Trans Health, and its donors and sponsors. Things like this never happen to me, I am so chuffed!

We are currently raising funds for another funding round, hopefully for Autumn 2015. You can donate to the next round below:

 

Help us to provide access to essential healthcare today.

 

In the interests of accountability and transparency, we are providing some identity statistics about what sort of people applied to the fund and where the money went. The grants are allocated by an independent funding panel on the merit of their applications and not based on their identities. However, we are looking at ways in which we can encourage people from unrepresented groups to apply and ways in which to support them through the application process.

– There was a wide range of ages represented in those that applied to the fund, but 18-21 year olds were very highly represented. This is probably due to the strong links we have made with the LGBT student movement.
applicant age
– This wide range of ages were represented in the grant recipients too.
agerecipients
– Most of the applicants were non-binary. Applicants were equally split between those who are affected by transmisogyny and those who are not.
gender applicants
– Most of the grant recipients were non-binary identified, with a 40/60 split between those affect by transmisogyny and those who are not.
gender grants
– Grant applicants were primary from England, with one applicant from Scotland and none from Wales or Northern Ireland. The applicants from England were very geographically dispersed, roughly equal across North, South, and the Midlands. One grant recipient was based in Scotland, the rest were roughly equally spread across England. We need to look into encouraging more people from the Nations to apply for the fund.

– Most applicants were from a white British background, with a roughly equal spread of people from other white, mixed and South Asian backgrounds. No applicants were black, which is an area we need to work on.
race applicants
– There was a 50:50 split between white and people of colour in the grant recipient group.
race grant
– Most of the grant applicants had a non-straight sexuality from a variety of identities including queer, pansexual, polysexual and gay/lesbian. This spread was also reflected in the grant recipient group.

– Most applicants were from a working class background, this was also reflected in the grant recipient group.

– 30% of grant applicants either had full time or part time caring responsibilities. A slightly higher percentage (36%) of grant recipients had either full time or part time caring responsibilities.

– 46% of grant applicants define as disabled compared to 75% of grant recipients
applicant dis

grant dis
– Applicants were from a wide range of religions and religious backgrounds. About 30% of applicants were atheist, 30% Christian, and the rest spread evenly across other faiths, including Hindu, Muslim, Pagan and Jehovas Witness. Grant recipients were 38% Christian, with the rest spread evenly across Hindu, Muslim, Pagan, Jehovas Witness, and other faith backgrounds.

– Most grant applicants were living with family (31%) or homeless (23%). Grant recipients were from roughly similar housing situations as the applicant group.

applicant housing

housing grants

 

This was all the data collected about the applicants and recipients of the Summer 2015 Solidarity Fund. If you have any questions about the Solidarity Fund, please get in touch at info[at]actionfortranshealth.org.uk. You can donate to the next funding round using the button below:

Help us to provide access to essential healthcare today.