People who identify as trans and non-binary can find it difficult to have their views and experiences heard and understood.
During 2017, we were contacted directly by trans and non-binary service users about problems they were facing locally.
We spoke to organisations who support and represent the city’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) residents, who told us that they were aware that many young people and adults were facing barriers when accessing health services, both related to their gender identity and general health services.
We decided to work with them to investigate the issues, and make recommendations for improvement.
Margaret Kilner, Chief Officer for Healthwatch Sheffield said of the report:
‘According to official estimates, 3418 transgender people live in the city and we know that across the country, the number of people seeking treatment is significantly increasing. There is clearly a need to improve the accessibility and responsiveness of healthcare services for Sheffield’s trans and non-binary residents.
The most powerful theme throughout our investigation was fear of accessing services – a fear of discrimination and of unfair treatment.
Perhaps because of these deep seated fears, positive experiences meant a great deal to the people we heard from. People were quick to speak about occasions where health and social care staff had been supportive and keen to understand.
Everyone involved in the NHS and social care must consider whether they are providing care to trans and non-binary people on an equal footing to people who are cisgender. NHS and social care providers have a duty to ensure that transphobia is not tolerated.
We’ve made recommendations to commissioners and providers based on what the people we spoke told us. Doing nothing is not an option. We hope that by listening to the views of trans people things will begin to change for Sheffield’s trans and non-binary community.’