During a conference hosted by the LGB Alliance in London on Thursday, quotes from anonymous NHS staffers who opposed the health service’s current LGBT policies were displayed by retired hospital CEO and “proud lesbian” Kate Grimes during a discussion.
“I saw them advertising Pride week and I actually felt scared,” declared one nurse, who has spent 35 years working for the NHS, while an unnamed doctor said, “I feel unsafe, I feel sad.”
Another woman said she had “never felt more concerned about being out as a lesbian than now,” while a board member of an NHS hospital said the situation for lesbians is “so much worse” today than it was previously.
For several years, the NHS has emphasised gender identity in its employee policies and has called for discrimination against transgender people to be ‘challenged’ – but debate has swirled about exactly what is classified as discrimination.
“It is unacceptable for colleagues and managers to refuse to recognise, for any period of time, a member of staff as belonging to the gender in which they are currently living,” warned one Scottish branch of the NHS in 2017, threatening managerial “procedures to deal with the situation” if an employee falls afoul of the policy.
It also said that transgender people should be recognised as the gender that they identify with even if they haven’t “undergone any hormonal or surgical treatment or have a Gender Recognition Certificate.”
Such policies have been criticised by many woman, who argue that it minimises the identity of biological women and puts them at risk, citing incidents where women have been sexually assaulted in bathrooms by predators claiming to be transgender or ‘gender-fluid’.
Another quote displayed at the conference on Thursday showed an NHS senior manager calling out the NHS for supporting people who accuse her of being a “genital fetishist,” while others said they felt the need to “monitor” everything they said.
Gay women who have expresed opposition to the idea of having a relationship with trans women who have a penis have been branded ‘genital fetishists’ by some pro-trans activists, who argue that its discriminatory to turn down a partner based on their biological sex.
The LGB Alliance was formed in response to the shift in LGBT organisations towards gender identity and claimed that “today’s LGBTQ+ movement is dominated by gender identity extremism.”
“Those who take a different view, including trans dissenters, are hounded out. We strongly reject this mindset,” the organisation declares on its website.
The LGB Alliance’s first conference drew a bipartisan crowd. SNP MP Joanna Cherry, conservative journalist Andy Ngo, author Helen Joyce, and former UKIP deputy leader Peter Whittle were just some of the figures in attendance, while the Labour Party group Lesbian Labour and the Free Speech Union also had a presence.
Protesters, however, accused the conference of being a “hate festival” and Cherry’s SNP colleague, Kirsty Blackman, was among those protesting outside the venue.