British Association of Gender Identity Specialists
The British Association of Gender Identity Specialists (BAGIS) was founded in 2014 for the purpose of promoting clinical research and exchange of knowledge of gender dysphoria and transgender health. It is an association of healthcare professionals, from a wide range of disciplines, committed to promoting excellence in clinical practice, clinical research, training and education in the field of healthcare for transgender and gender non-conforming people. The Association encourages and fosters the highest standards of practice amongst its members, based upon the best available evidence, and also advocates the adoption of similar standards amongst all health professionals in the British Isles.
The purposes of BAGIS are the following:
To establish a professional association to encourage the highest standards of practice, education, and research in the field of gender dysphoria and transgender health.
To promote cooperation between health professionals, academics and allied professionals working in the field of gender dysphoria and transgender health throughout the British Isles.
To promote excellence in transgender healthcare by disseminating scientific knowledge and evidence-based clinical practice through a peer network.
To engage with transgender and gender non-conforming people in the promotion of excellence in transgender healthcare.
SCIENTIFIC SYMPOSIUM 2019
This year's symposium took place in Durham on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th October. MOre information will be available soon.
Fertility Preservation for Trans People
by James Barrett (Outgoing President of BAGIS)
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This is probably the most delightful thing I have had to announce as President of the Association.
Rather more than two years ago the Association, driven by the concerns of members, complained to the Equality and Human Rights Commission that NHS England Clinical Commissioning Groups very often refused to fund the preservation of the fertility of trans people undergoing hormone treatment and surgery — in circumstances where the fertility of cis gender people was funded. We felt that this was discriminatory.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission noted that the Manchester LGBT Foundation had raised the same concerns and asked the Association to provide hard evidence. It was at that point that I wrote to you asking for just exactly that.
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And evidence there was ! The most egregious cases were passed to the Commission and I found myself spending many long hours consulting with lawyers. The heartening thing, though, was a preliminary legal opinion sought by the Commission that suggested a seventy-five per cent chance of success if the matter came to a hearing. I was advised that this is lawyer-speak for a very strong case.
The response of NHS England was a robust rebuttal, and a court date was set for the 27th of March, just before what was then thought to be Brexit day.
I’m pleased to say that the matter settled out of court the day before the hearing was due to start. NHS England are now reissuing their guidance to Clinical Commissioning Groups. NHS England cannot, it seems, actually order Clinical Commissioning Groups to fund gamete storage for trans people but instead has advised them that were they to refuse they would be very likely to be open to legal challenge.
I am so grateful for the help I got from all the members of the Association. In the middle of all the legal wrangling it’s sometimes easy to forget that there are real people involved. The human side was brought sharply to my attention, just a month ago. I was talking to a collection of fertility specialists, as I often end up doing. A much greater proportion than I have ever seen before had preserved the fertility of trans people; all thought that there would be even more in the future. For the very first time in my experience, though, one of the specialists reported a trans person who had come back, looking well, happy, thriving in life, with a settled relationship and wanting to have children using gametes stored five years earlier. Brought a lump to my throat, I have to say.