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LGBT+ News Roundup 7!

Updated: Oct 19, 2022

Hello everyone, I hope you're ready for your weekly News Roundup! Here’s what’s been happening this week…

Tavistock & Bell - High Court decision overturned!

EU Clashes with Poland and Hungary over LGBT+ Rights

Pride March in Ukraine Scotland is the first country to add LGBT+ education into their national curriculum.

Tavistock v Bell - High Court decision overturned! The Court of Appeal has overturned the High Court’s decision from December 2020 which stated that trans people aged under 16 would have to go before a judge in order to access puberty blockers.

Tavistock v Bell - A summary

Tavistock v Bell is a High Court case between the Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust and Kiera Bell, who was bringing her case forward on behalf of Sue Evans, a former nurse at the Leeds GIDS, and “Mrs A”, the parent of a 15 year old on the GIDS waiting list.

The case began in October 2019 and brought forward the subject of whether puberty blockers could be prescribed to under-18s with gender dysphoria. This relates to the concept of ‘Gillick competence’ - a term used by medical professionals to describe whether a person under 16 is mature enough to fully understand and consent to treatment by themselves.

Mrs A and Sue Evans suggested that advice around hormone therapy is “potentially misleading” and an under 16 year old could not give “true informed consent”. Kiera Bell joined their case as she was prescribed puberty blockers at 16 and had her top-surgery at age 20 but later regretted her transition. Despite the fact that puberty blockers are considered safe, reversible and the best-practice for young trans people, in December 2020 the High Court ruled that it was unlikely that a person under the age of 16 could be Gillick competent to consent to this type of treatment. This meant that the NHS had to immediately pause GIDs referrals for puberty blockers.

Starting in January 2021, the NHS appealed to have this decision overturned.

In March 2021, the Family Division of the High Court changed the ruling so that under-16s were able to access puberty blockers if they had parental consent. Although this was better than nothing, it still left the most vulnerable young trans people without options.

The Court of Appeal

Last Friday, the Court of Appeal overturned these decisions!

The Court of Appeal stated that the High Court “was not in a position to generalise about the capability of persons of different ages to understand what is necessary for them to be competent to consent to the administration of puberty blockers.”

The judges pointed out that there is very little difference between under 16s consenting to taking contraceptives and under 16s consenting to puberty blocking treatment. In summary of the decision, a Tavistock spokesperson said ““It affirms that it is for doctors, not judges, to decide on the capacity of under-16s to consent to medical treatment.”

EU Clashes with Poland and Hungary over LGBT+ Rights

Meanwhile, in Europe, Poland and Hungary have both been called out by the European Commission (the bit of the EU which enforces laws).

The European Commission announced in July that it was taking action against Poland and Hungary for “violations of fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people.” This came after Hungary passed a law which bans the “promotion” of the LGBT+ community to minors in media, advertising and education and several Polish regions & cities declared themselves “free from LGBT+ ideology”.

The “LGBT+ free zones” in Poland began to appear in 2019, officials believed that the violated the EU’s law surrounding non-discrimination due to sexual orientation. In March 2021 the EU declared itself an “LGBT+ freedom zone” in a direct response these regions in Poland. In July the European Commission said Poland will face legal action after it “failed to [...] respond to its inquiry regarding the nature and impact of the so-called LGBT ideology free zones”

The sanctions seem to be having some effect, as in April the small community of Kraśnik in eastern Poland became the first town to withdraw its ‘LGBT-free’ status.

On Wednesday 22nd September, another region followed suit as the rural community of Swietokrzyskie in southern Poland also voted to abolish these anti-LGBT+ resolutions. Their new statement guarantees parents the right to raise their children consistent with their beliefs and views but says that the constitution ensures “equality and fair treatment for all”. Many more regions and cities are expected to make similar moves in the next few months.

Pride March in Ukraine

On Sunday 19th September between seven and eight thousand people attended the Kyiv Equality March to bravely stand up against opposition from religious and political groups and march peacefully for LGBT+ rights in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.

Several hundred anti-LGBT protesters gathered nearby in a park but their numbers were small compared to the LGBT+ community and their allies. Ukraine currently does not permit same-sex marriage or adoption and LGBT+ people are not protected from workplace discrimination.

Fortunately no violence broke out and the Pride celebrate-ers continued peacefully through the city

Scotland is the first country to add LGBT+ education into their national curriculum.

Starting in 2021, all public schools will have LGBT+ inclusivity and history added to their curriculum.

All school staff will be given basic training in LGBT+ inclusive education and a number of LGBT+ education resources. A dedicated website will also be launched with resources to help support LGBT+ students and young people. The resources were developed by parents, teachers, young people and LGBT+ organisations.

Subjects covered across all age groups will include:

  • LGBT+ Identities

  • Same Sex Marriage

  • Same Sex Parenting

  • Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

  • LGBT+ History including the AIDs Epidemic


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