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Trans Lives Survey 2021: Enduring the UK’s hostile environment

Released today (29th September 2021), one of the largest direct surveys of trans experience in the UK in 2021 makes exposes the shocking reality of the daily discrimination faced by trans and non-binary folk in the UK. Carried out and published by TransActual UK, the report highlights how:

  • 27% of trans people have been homelessness at some point in their lives. That rises to 36% for both trans BPOC and trans disabled people;
  • A staggering 98% of trans people responding do not think that NHS transition related care is completely adequate;
  • There are significant issues with primary care, too:
    • 45% of trans respondents said that their GP did not have a good understanding of their needs as a trans person, with 55% of non-binary people reporting similar issues. 
    • 87% of those answering, overall said that this had impacted them to some extent. This rises, again, to 95% and 92% for BPOC and disabled individuals;
    • Issues with healthcare providers may also have serious consequences, in a time when illnesses such as COVID-19 illustrate graphically how individual decisions, when faced with a highly transmissible virus, can affect the rest of the population, as 57% of trans people reported that they avoided going to the GP when unwell – again, because of lack of understanding and more general discrimination;
    • Even more concerning, 14% of respondents (one in 7) reported that their GP had refused to provide care or treatment on account of their trans status at least once;
    • Six individuals reported this refusal to provide care happening ‘often’ or ‘always’.

These and other findings from Trans Lives Survey 2021: Enduring the UK’s hostile environment ought to ring alarm bells across the political sphere. Sadly, we suspect the opposite. The UK mainstream media will continue to pursue a policy of ignoring issues that impact trans people; at the same time, it will carry on leading with sensationalist clickbait stories taken from the wilder shores of social media.

According to Chay Brown, director of TransActual: “These findings are shocking but in no way unexpected. They merely put figures to a perilous situation that almost every trans person in the UK is well aware of. Transphobia feels unescapable, whether we’re at home, at work or when we go to the doctor’s.”

jane fae, also a director of TransActual and chair of Trans Media Watch, added

“The real scandal here is how comprehensively the media have conspired to ignore this situation, preferring, instead, to produce tens of thousands of words on the largely imagined consequences of reform to the Gender Recognition Act.

“We are not at all surprised to find that 70% of respondents said that media transphobia has impacted their mental health. In addition, 93% reported that media transphobia had an impact on their experience of transphobia from strangers on the street, while 85% said it has impacted how their family treat them.

“The bottom line is: transphobia impacts all aspects of daily life for trans people, from relationships with our friends and families, to healthcare, and even listening to the radio. This report is essential reading for anyone working in healthcare or in the media, as well as for policy makers and employers, and we hope that it provides food for thought. 

“Your actions (and inactions) have a profound impact on all of us.”

Survey Background

The report is based on the TransActual Community Voice Survey 2021, an online survey of trans adults in the UK., carried out between January and February 2021. There were 702 responses to the survey, however 5  responses were ineligible. Four individuals were under 18, and one claimed  to identify as a hippo. This report relates to the 697 eligible respondents.  

TransActual is an advocacy, education and empowerment organisation run by trans people for trans people in the UK. We work towards a world where trans people can live our lives safely, with dignity and with access to appropriate healthcare and recognition. 

Further Information

For further information on the results from this Survey, please contact press.transactualuk@gmail.com