Frightening law change; Sajid Javid to invade medical confidentiality for 1000s of children

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Articles posted to The Daily Mail and The Times are making claims that Health Secretary Sajid Javid is looking to change the law regarding record keeping for trans patients with the NHS. This is allegedly an attempt to aid in the ongoing Cass Review

Update: There is new information at the bottom of this piece.

The articles do not provide a source for the information at all and so we cannot scrutinise what has actually been said by Sajid Javid, Ministers, Hillary Cas or anyone else said to be involved with this alleged decision.

We can only scrutinise what the two articles from known anti-trans orgs say. Which doesn’t fill the trans community with confidence at all, and has sent many into a panic and for very good reason.

The articles suggest that 9,000 people will have their medical information used in studies to “find out if they suffered health problems as a result of their [transgender related] treatment”. According to The Times; “at present this is prevented by medical confidentiality laws and rules that mean people are given a new NHS number when they legally change their gender”.

The article continues, attempting to reassure transgender people, by saying that “ministers have been accused of using the issue for political gain. However sources insist that ministers will not see the data, which will be processed securely by academics.” Which isn’t particularly comforting given the number of transphobic academics out there.

Both articles reference Sajid Javid’s previous anti-trans statements, including his belief that trans people are being given “life-altering treatment” far too quickly. This contrasts with everything ever said by trans people who instead report official waitlists of up to 5 years before a first appointment; and unofficial wait times of 25 years if patients are processed at current pace.

According to The Times piece Javid wants “a more robust study into whether the treatment improves children’s lives or leads to later problems or regret”. Studies have already shown that transition and support from family improve mental health amongst trans youth. Other studies have shown regret rates for transition to be lower than any other kind of medical intervention.

The Daily Mail piece spends its latter half talking about two detransitioners. First Keira Bell, who originally won her case, but subsequently had it over turned and was denied an appeal at the Supreme Court level; ie the end of the road for her. Second Ritchie Herron, who is claiming he will sue the NHS because he surgically transitioned at 26 and claims they didn’t do enough to stop a grown adult making a decision about their own body.

The decision, which again we still don’t fully know the truth of as both The Times and The Daily Mail have a record of fudging things for the express purpose of hurting our community, has been widely criticised within said community. Lots of people are scared, upset and angry – many have even called it an abuse of power and others still are looking into their legal options.

Personally, I am all down for more data and robust evidence in support of trans healthcare and making it better. However its clear from the language allegedly used by Sajid Javid that that’s not the case. They are looking for reasons to oppose trans healthcare, not improve it.

Not to mention the huge problems with consent and privacy. We all have human rights to privacy and our personal and medical information is included in that. Changing the law specifically to allow people to peer into the medical information of anyone without their consent is awful, the fact its being done specifically to target transgender children is horrific.

The Times article phrases it as “ultimately this will benefit everyone, particularly children who may be questioning their gender identity” which is a very ‘for your own good’ kind of statement. The invasion of our privacy with the stated aim of attempting to undermine our healthcare in no way helps us.

As a reminder, we cannot confirm the information about this given by The Times and The Daily Mail yet. We have reached out to the NHS and Sajid Javid for comment and will update when we know more.

But even if this does turn out to have been blown out of proportion by the papers; that’s still worth commenting on because it is just part of stochastic terrorism. Demonise trans people, claim we are interfering with children and let groups like The Proud Boys do the rest.

Violent hate crimes faced by trans people are on the rise, violent hate crimes faced by drag queens are on the rise, violent hate crimes faced by all lgbtqia+ members are on the rise. Our media is, in part, responsible for all of this and it won’t ever stop, not least while our politicians are goading it on in this way.

Update: Here’s the legislation, the changes, who is affected etc. We can now confirm that Sajid Javid has indeed worked to change the GRA so that for the next 5 years appointed academics related to the Cass Review can access confidential medical record of trans youth. This is a right usually only reserved for when investigating a crime and is a massive breach to the human rights of privacy of everyone being targeted. Not least since many will still be minors.

I expect there will be lawsuits to follow.

 

 

 

Gemma Stone
Gemma Stone is a transgender writer who has been covering the rise of transphobic hate campaigning in the UK. She has written hundreds of articles dissecting aspects of transphobia including debunking blatant disinformation. She is very tired and trying her best, and hopefully having a positive impact on such a beautiful community.

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