Updated: Jan 2, 2021
The UK, now affectionately dubbed "TERF island", by trans, ts and non-binary people descends further in its plans for creating apartheid between cis and trans women and people and creating a frightening and hostile place for people who have transitioned. Earlier in the year the UK, with the exception of Scotland, withdrew all healthcare for trans young people by making it nesessary to obtain a court order before allowing trans young people to block puberty and avoid unnecessary changes to their bodies as a result of going through a cisgender puberty. As a result, reports were circulated about trans young people being admitted to hospital having had mental health crises because of their treatment being withdrawn.
Professor Kathleen Stock (OBE), bizarrely announced during their tweet that they are "suppressed", in the UK - in a society that awards transphobia. She added that the LGBT charity Stonewall were "a threat" to free speech. Other prominent transphobes given awards in 2020 include journalist Janice Turner, and JK Rowling after publishing a transphobic essay widely criticised for its inaccuracies, and outright propaganda.
Earlier in the year, we saw the reform of the Gender Recognition Act halted by Liz Truss and the conservative government, and in the scrutiny of those reforms, prominent anti-trans activists: Kathleen Stock, Rosa Freedman, and Anna Sullivan aimed to prevent integration of trans people with wider society, misleading the committee that trans women were violent predators among other propaganda aimed at de-legitimizing trans women and people. Citing a study from the 1980's, she falsely claimed that trans women were as likely to be criminals as cis men while the authors of the study came to the opposite conclusion, that criminality decreases over time.
Meanwhile, transphobic hate crime in the UK has quadrupled over the last 5 years, with transphobia endemic not only in exclusionary feminist circles, but within all political parties. Delays in treating trans, ts and non-binary people with HRT and access to corrective surgery have reached an all time high, extending up to 5 years for a first appointment, essentially making healthcare inaccessibe. Trans, ts and non-binary people are essentially needing to resort to the grey market, and risk their lives to obtain HRT in a timely fashion.
The UK sees itself plummeting in LGBT equality rankings, seeing commentary from amnesty international, and an increase in trans, ts and non-binary people seeking refuge abroad: where they are better protected. The organisation Human Rights Watch, which investigates and reports on abuses throughout the world, has interveined three times in 2020 to write about abuses of trans, ts, and non-binary people in the UK, at one point writing directly to Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister.
A constant barrage of negative media coverage, including the state broadcasting company: the BBC, which banned its staff from attending LGBT related venues and gatherings this year, is seeing serious impacts on trans people's mental health. Further to this, OFCOM, the UK communications regulator slammed the BBC for its "extremely innapropriate" policy of "balancing" appearances of trans people with activists from anti-trans groups.
A recent study not only found that trans, ts and non-binary people were a lot more likely to have significant traumas, but also that such negative press negatively affected trans people's health requiring "multilevel" interventions. Despite awareness that social stigma affects minority communities, the UK continues to be the most hostile to ts, trans and non-binary people, overtaking the USA in its extent of persecutory commentaries. The 2020 Galop transphobic hate crime report made specific mention of the demonisation of trans, ts and non-binary people by "politicians and high profile newspaper columnists". In it, 90% of respondants had experienced some kind of hate crime.
2020, like 2019, has seen a significant decline in the safety and wellbeing of trans, ts and non-binary people who are facing persecution in health, declines in wellbeing and mental health, and overall human rights.