Health bosses say they will be looking to incorporate registered training from a local charity in a bid to make people more transgender aware.
Officers from Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) admitted they have ‘gaps’ in that area after a speech at a recent meeting by a guest from the Trans Aware charity.
The charity looks to make sure anyone affected by gender identity issues feel supported in the Tees Valley and East Cleveland area.
It also offers awareness training specifically towards a greater understanding of the issue, and the CCG said they would look to incorporate it.
Ellie Lowther, director of the charity, speaking at the CCG governing body’s public meeting, said: “It’s great to hear about the excellent work the CCG has been doing.
“But there are still massive problems for the transgender and non-binary communities.
“There’s a lack of education around these gender issues.
“There’s a two-year waiting period for a lot of people for gender diversity clinics.
“It leads to people buying hormones online.
“More work needs to be done to differ between gender identity and sexual orientation.
“Education is key, we need to stop tolerating and start accepting.
“It’s an endemic in society, you get it in schools, you get it at the doctor’s, you get it in shops.”
She gave an example of how someone sitting in a doctor’s waiting room was outed on the screen as a transgender person when their name came up, after a struggle to change Miss to Mr.
She also warned a number of people have even taken to self-harming over how they have been left feeling over the issues they have faced.
Health bosses at the meeting thanked her for her the message and said they will look at how to take action to raise awareness of transgender issues.
They also said they would speak with the appropriate authorities to look at providing training offered by the charity.
Ali Wilson, Chief Officer of the CCG, speaking at the meeting, said: “We know we have gaps in these services and we’re pleased to have you here.
“These issues are about helping real people.
“I’m not sure anyone has had anything specific like this training before.
“These sort of things we should be doing.”
The training aims to provide a full understanding of transgender and non-binary, specifically from a gender identity perspective, and help people understand the difficulties they face.
It also aims to help people be better equipped to help to tackle prejudice and promote understanding within the workplace and the wider community.
Trans Aware became the first registered charity in the North East of England, specifically aimed towards the needs of transgender and non-binary people, when it formed last year.
Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporting Service