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Transgender People Being Failed 'In So Many Ways' In Britain, MPs Say In Landmark Report

14/01/2016 02:49 GMT | Updated 14/01/2016 04:59 GMT

Britain is "failing trans people in so many ways" and transgender rights lag far behind gay rights here, a landmark report by MPs revealed on Thursday.

The first report on transgender rights ever produced by parliament said trans people still face "routine hostility and discrimination" and noted the majority of hate rimes are not even reported.

The report also accused the NHS of "failing" in its commitment to transgender people through ignorance and lack of training, particularly for GPs.

It also said NHS staff and contractors showed signs of "transphobic behaviour" that the health service had to do more to prevent.

Maria Miller, the chair of the equalities committee, said the picture their report painted was in stark contrast to how Britain "leads the world" in lesbian, gay and bisexual rights.

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“Fairness and equality are basic British values," she said. "But despite some welcome progress, we are still failing trans people in so many ways.

"The committee took evidence on a wide range of issues including: gender recognition and equality legislation, health services, transphobia and hate crime, courts, prisons, education, data protection, official documents – and more. Our report challenges attitudes towards trans people calling for them to be treated equally and fairly."

She added: "Media coverage of transgender issues has improved a great deal in recent years, but it still tends to focus on transgender celebrities.

"There is a stark contrast with the day to day experiences of many ordinary individual trans people, who still endure routine hostility and discrimination.”

Among its recommendations is a new Gender Recognition Act, replacing the one requires people have a mental-health diagnosis of gender dysphoria, two years of living in their acquired gender and, if married, approval of their spouse before their new gender is recognised in law.

Speaking in November, Ruth Hunt, chief of LGBT rights charity Stonewall, told HuffPost UK the existing Gender Recognition Act was a "stain on our record as a nation".

The report also recommended the NHS carry out a root-and-branch review of its treatment of trans people. The committee heard evidence that "there is at best considerable ignorance and at worst some enduring and mistaken and highly offensive stereotypes about trans people among the public at large, amongst whom we must unfortunately number some health professionals".

It also recommended strengthening hate crime legislation and implored the Ministry of Justice to develop a new hate crime action plan to encourage trans people to report hate crime more.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission welcomed the report, saying it chimed with its earlier findings.

"Despite the marked progress that has been made towards achieving equality for trans people, prejudice and barriers still remain," said Jackie Driver, the commission's lead director for Lesbian, Gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

She added there were examples where trans people were victim of hate crimes 50 times a year but only around 30% of such crimes were reported.

"The importance of a strong, comprehensive and coherent strategy to lever progress on the issues facing trans people cannot be under-estimated and we agree with the report’s conclusion that the trans community should be fully consulted, including in the development of a new hate crime action plan.

"We look forward to working with the Committee, Government and the trans community to make progress on the issues identified in this report as a matter of urgency. "

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