Hundreds of nurses call on regulator to QUIT Stonewall scheme

Hundreds of nurses call on regulator to QUIT Stonewall diversity scheme for trying to ‘erase women’s rights’

  • 460 nurses have signed a letter voicing their concern about Stonewall’s policies
  • They are concerned about biological men gaining access to female only spaces
  • Another issue of concern is the erasure of gender terms like “woman” of “female”
  • Stonewall however say the letter is littered with “inaccuracies” about their work

Hundreds of nurses have called on their regulatory body to withdraw from a diversity scheme run by Stonewall. 

The LGBT charity has been mired in controversy over their gender identify views including that people should be able to access single-sex healthcare settings such as wards, based on what gender they identify as.

A string of high profile organisations, including the BBC and the Department of Health have already ditched Stonewall diversity scheme over the charity’s views 

Now the Nursing and Midwifery Council is under pressure to join the ever-growing list of bodies which have have forsaken the charity.  

Some 460 members of the medical body signed a letter stating their concerns over Stonewall’s impact on healthcare, warning they were afraid to speak out. 

However the charity has hit back, stating the letter is ‘littered with inaccuracies and misinformation’, and that lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people are harmed by ‘attacks’ like these. 

One issue the nurses are worried about is the erasure of women’s rights, such as the right to be safe when in care, like a hospital or mental health setting, or the right to be called “mothers” rather than a gender neutral term. 

One wrote:  ‘I support the needs of trans people – but not to the eradication of women and women’s rights.’ 

A specific concern is the LGBT charity’s position that patients be able to access single-sex wards, or metal health institutions, based on their gender identity undermines the ability of health professionals to safeguard female patients.   

Campaigners urging organisations to withdraw from Stonewall’s diversity scheme in October this year 

 The Royal College Of Midwives has apologised and removed guidelines for safe-sleeping with babies that referred to ‘post-natal people’ with no mention of women or mothers.

The move came after the body was criticised by a childbirth campaigner who was ‘cancelled’ online for questioning the use of the term ‘birthing people’.

Milli Hill, from Somerset, faced a furious backlash last year after challenging the use of the term while speaking about obstetric violence – medical interventions performed during childbirth without a woman’s consent.

Now, the author has convinced midwifery body the RCM to change its latest safe sleeping guidance, which made no reference to women and instead used the term ‘post-natal people’, presumably to account for the fact that transgender men can give birth.

The pregnancy campaigner pointed to research showing that women who are breastfeeding have a heightened responsiveness due to their hormonal feedback cycle.

This means there could be safety differences if a baby was co-sleeping with a breastfeeding mother compared to a non-breastfeeding mother or father.

One nurse who signed the letter claimed her workplace forced staff to tell women there were no male patients admitted on wards, even if there were.

 ‘Nurses in my mental health trust are required to affirm gender identity – consequently male bodied patients on female psychiatric wards, staff/patients unable to have frank conversation about risk, women being told no men on the ward is a further psychological harm to (often) traumatised women,’ they said. 

Another wrote that they felt unable to protect female patients over fear of being seen as discriminating: ‘I feel I am unable to protect my female/women patients, and advocate for them without fear of recrimination.’ 

Additionally, one said Stonewall’s desire to remove terms, such as the word “woman”, was offensive.

‘The use of inaccurate terminology and the removal of sex-based language such as woman, mother, breast feeding is both offensive to women, and confusing for those who are not native English speakers. Nurses will suffer reputational damage if not allowed to speak out on these important issues,’ they said. 

Organised by campaign group Woman’s Place UK, the letter reads: ‘The history of Stonewall to promote equality and safeguard the rights of the LGBT community is one to celebrate. 

‘However, nursing affiliations must be based on evidence not ideology and judged on current record and strategy, not legacy achievements and reputation.

‘We believe that as a profession, there is specific risk to the reputation of nurses and our ability to work within our Code from the NMC’s affiliation with Stonewall.’

The online letter asks signatories to confirm that they are or were registered with the NMC as nurse, midwife or health visitor. 

The group’s co-founder Kiri Tunks told MailOnline the comments currently provided on the online petition showed the depth of concern nurses and midwives had regarding Stonewall.   

‘Woman’s Place UK is really glad to be hosting this letter which we hope will help amplify the voices of healthcare professionals,’ she said. 

‘They are in a particularly difficult situation because they feel their voices are very constrained. As the comments make clear, current registrants are very nervous about being identified and targeted for raising concerns.

‘As a women’s rights campaign, we are concerned that women’s rights in healthcare are upheld so we are really glad that nurses and midwives are speaking up.’ 

Other concerns listed in the letter include: Stonewall support for children to undergo gender reassignment treatment, behaviour towards those who speak against the charity, and reframing of language to erase terms such as “woman” or “mother”

The letter also calls for the four chief nurses of the UK nations to publicly support the withdrawal of NHS bodies and Trusts from the Stonewall scheme. 

The NMC’s chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said the regulator was aware of the letter and would respond in due course.  

‘We’re aware of Woman’s Place UK’s letter, although it hasn’t been sent to us directly yet,’ she said. 

‘We will, of course, respond once we’ve received the letter and had time to consider it.’

Concerns over affiliations with Stonewall have grown in recent months leading to a number of organisations, both public and private, to withdraw from the charity’s diversity scheme

Responding to the letter, a Stonewall spokesperson said: ‘This petition is littered with inaccuracies and misinformation. 

‘It is disgraceful that these groups continue to misrepresent our Diversity Champions programme, which simply provides support to organisations to build inclusive workplace environments. 

‘Ultimately, it is lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people who are harmed by these kinds of baseless attacks.’ 

Stonewall has found in a storm of controversy in recent years regarding issues surrounding gender and identity.   

There have been growing concerns about the influence of Stonewall, which is paid millions of pounds for advising public bodies – including Government departments, police forces and universities – plus a range of private companies on LGBT issues.

Stonewall started as a campaign group for gay rights and has been widely applauded for its vital work. 

However there have been concerns about the charity controversially promoting a policy of self-declared ‘gender identity’ – a doctrine that people are whatever gender they say they are – ahead of biological sex. 

It supports the belief, for example, that people with penises can be lesbians and those with vaginas can be gay men. Those who disagree, says Stonewall, are bigots. 

The charity’s chief executive Nancy Kelley also claimed ‘gender critical’ beliefs – the belief that a person’s biological sex cannot be changed – were like anti-Semitism. 

Concern over the issues last month saw the BBC following several other high-profile bodies, including Whitehall departments, in dropping its membership of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme. 

In other news, last week the Royal College Of Midwives was forced to apologise and removed guidelines for safe-sleeping with babies that referred to ‘post-natal people’ with no mention of women or mothers. 

The move came after the body was criticised by a childbirth campaigner who was ‘cancelled’ online for questioning the use of the term ‘birthing people’. 

Milli Hill, from Somerset, faced a furious backlash last year after challenging the use of the term while speaking about obstetric violence – medical interventions performed during childbirth without a woman’s consent.

Now, the author has convinced midwifery body the RCM to change its latest safe sleeping guidance, which made no reference to women and instead used the term ‘post-natal people’, presumably to account for the fact that transgender men can give birth.  

The pregnancy campaigner pointed to research showing that women who are breastfeeding have a heightened responsiveness due to their hormonal feedback cycle. 

This means there could be safety differences if a baby was co-sleeping with a breastfeeding mother compared to a non-breastfeeding mother or father.

Why did the NHS let me change sex? Keira Bell tells her story in the hope that it will ‘serve as a warning to others’

IT engineer Miss Bell is pictured outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London in January

In an interview earlier this year, Keira told the Daily Mail what happened to her, in order to highlight her plight and, she says, serve as a warning to others. 

Keira was brought up in Hertfordshire, with two younger sisters, by her single mother, as her parents had divorced. Her father, who served in the U.S. military in Britain and has since settled here, lived a few miles away.

She was always a tomboy, she said. She did not like wearing skirts, and can still vividly remember two occasions when she was forced by her family to go out in a dress.

She told the Daily Mail: ‘At 14, I was pitched a question by my mother, about me being such a tomboy. She asked me if I was a lesbian, so I said no. She asked me if I wanted to be a boy and I said no, too.’

But the question set Keira thinking that she might be what was then called transsexual, and today is known as transgender.

‘The idea was disgusting to me,’ she tells me. ‘Wanting to change sex was not glorified as it is now. It was still relatively unknown. Yet the idea stuck in my mind and it didn’t go away.’

Keira’s road to the invasive treatment she blames for blighting her life, began after she started to persistently play truant at school. An odd one out, she insisted on wearing trousers — most female pupils there chose skirts — and rarely had friends of either sex.

When she continually refused to turn up at class as a result of bullying, she was referred to a therapist.

She told him of her thoughts that she wanted to be a boy.

Very soon, she was referred to her local doctor who, in turn, sent her to the child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) near her home. From there, because of her belief that she was born in the wrong body, she was given treatment at the Tavistock 

Keira had entered puberty and her periods had begun. ‘The Tavistock gave me hormone blockers to stop my female development. It was like turning off a tap,’ she says.

‘I had symptoms similar to the menopause when a woman’s hormones drop. I had hot flushes, I found it difficult to sleep, my sex drive disappeared. I was given calcium tablets because my bones weakened.’

Keira claims she was not warned by the Tavistock therapists of the dreadful symptoms ahead.

Her breasts, which she had been binding with a cloth she bought from a transgender internet site, did not instantly disappear. ‘I was in nowhere land,’ she says.

Yet back she went to the Tavistock, where tests were run to see if she was ready for the next stage of her treatment after nearly a year on blockers. 

A few months later, she noticed the first wispy hairs growing on her chin. At last something was happening. Keira was pleased.

She was referred to the Gender Identity Clinic in West London, which treats adults planning to change sex.

After getting two ‘opinions’ from experts there, she was sent to a hospital in Brighton, East Sussex, for a double mastectomy, aged 20. 

By now, she had a full beard, her sex drive returned, and her voice was deep.

After her breasts were removed, she began to have doubts about becoming a boy.

Despite her doubts, she pressed on. She changed her name and sex on her driving licence and birth certificate, calling herself Quincy (after musician Quincy Jones) as she liked the sound of it. She also altered her name by deed poll, and got a government-authorised Gender Recognition Certificate making her officially male. 

In January last year, soon after her 22nd birthday, she had her final testosterone injection. 

But, after years of having hormones pumped into your body, the clock is not easily turned back. It is true that her periods returned and she slowly began to regain a more feminine figure around her hips. Yet her beard still grows.

‘I don’t know if I will ever really look like a woman again,’ she said. ‘I feel I was a guinea pig at the Tavistock, and I don’t think anyone knows what will happen to my body in the future.’ 

Even the question of whether she will be able to have children is in doubt.

She has started buying women’s clothes and using female toilets again, but says: ‘I worry about it every time in case women think I am a man. I get nervous. I have short hair but I am growing it and, perhaps, that will make a difference.’ 

By law she is male, and she faces the bureaucratic nightmare of changing official paperwork back to say she is female.

Source: Read Full Article