Green Party MSP Maggie Chapman has taken a strong stand in support of LGBTQ+ rights, particularly for transgender and non-binary youth, in a recent speech at the Scottish Parliament. As the new parliamentary term began in Holyrood, Chapman called for increased support and attention to the needs of transgender and non-binary young people in Scotland.
Chapman emphasized the importance of providing comprehensive healthcare for trans youth, highlighting that some of the children benefiting from the Scottish child payment program may identify as transgender or non-binary. She stressed the necessity of ensuring these young individuals grow up in a safe and supportive environment where their health needs are addressed promptly and with dignity.
Furthermore, Chapman condemned “cruel and damaging” conversion therapy practices, advocating for the protection of young trans people from such harmful practices. She reaffirmed her commitment, along with the Scottish Greens, to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community.
In Scotland, individuals seeking trans and non-binary healthcare often encounter significant challenges, including inadequate care and long waiting times, which are similar to issues faced in other parts of the UK. According to Scottish Trans, wait times for a first appointment at one of the four gender identity clinics (GICs) in Scotland can range from four to five years. The situation is particularly concerning for young people, as the Sandyford GIC, the only GIC for under-18s in Scotland, has a waiting period of up to four years for a first appointment.
Chapman and the Scottish Greens have been long-time advocates for addressing these lengthy waiting times. Their Reform Trans Healthcare campaign calls on the government to introduce an “alternative pathway” to alleviate the strain on existing services.
The campaign is supported by research conducted by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which indicates that the current system is inadequate. It points out that demand for GIC services in Edinburgh and Glasgow significantly exceeds capacity, leading to frustration among trans men, women, and non-binary individuals who rely on these services.
The Green Party in Scotland believes that investing in the current system is not sufficient. They argue for the implementation of trial reforms, similar to those being tested in England, as a way to address the deficiencies in the existing healthcare system for trans and non-binary individuals. These trial reforms aim to provide a consultative medicine model that empowers trans people to receive the treatment they need, tailored to their unique circumstances.
Trials in England, such as the Indigo Gender Service in Greater Manchester and the TransPlus service in Soho, offer potential models for improving trans healthcare. The Scottish Greens' call for an “Alternative Pathway to Trans Healthcare” reflects their commitment to creating a more inclusive and responsive healthcare system for transgender and non-binary individuals in Scotland.