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LWD has responded to the World Health Organisation announcement of the development of a guideline on the health of trans and gender diverse people.

A petition raising objections to the WHO’s panel selection and consultation process for the guideline has so far attracted nearly 8,000 signatures.

You can sign here: https://who-decides.org/

This is our response to WHO:

Labour Women’s Declaration works to increase awareness and understanding, within the UK Labour Party and more widely, of issues concerning women and girls, advocating on behalf of the 8,000+ signatories to our seven-point Declaration.

We have always understood the World Health Organisation to be a body dedicated to properly-researched healthcare and its implementation across the world.  That it has wanted to develop a guideline for healthcare for trans-identified people seems entirely reasonable, not least as there has been considerable concern expressed about the practices and processes in many countries.

It is therefore surprising that the 18 December 2023 announcement appears to have reached conclusions before any development has happened.  The focus is to be ‘gender-affirming’ and ‘gender-inclusive’ care, with a further focus on ‘legal recognition of self-determined gender identity’.  These very terms express a highly-contested position which has foreclosed any full investigation of the many complex issues involved in healthcare for trans-identified people.

The panel that has been selected to undertake the development of the guideline would seem to consist entirely of people who hold one particular view, apparently unquestioning of transition as an approach suitable for all gender dysphoric people.  Indeed, given the assumption in the announcement that self-determined gender identity is the basis for future development, it is hard to see how this panel will achieve anything beyond the reiteration of the approaches being insisted upon by trans activism in many countries, which have little reference to good research.

Where such research has been done, increasing doubts have been raised by practitioners about an approach which takes transition as the obvious and necessary outcome of any expression of gender dysphoria or self-determined gender identity.  The chosen panel seems entirely inappropriate to the task in hand, given a pre-existing bias in favour of hormonal and surgical treatment.

We might have hoped that serious consideration of treatment would include the voices of the clinicians (such as endocrinologists and psychiatrists) expressing concern, surgeons who have tried to rectify serious failures of sex reassignment surgery, transitioned people who have experienced difficulty and/or regret, and detransitioners.  These people have different perspectives, and surely such variety of views is critical to the development of a guideline that will provide strong world-wide support to clinicians.

We endorse the views of SEGM (Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine) and those of CAN-SG (Clinical Advisory Network on Sex and Gender) concerning the lack of balance in the guideline development group.  Our work in supporting women’s sex-based rights and the need for the UK Labour Party to develop policies that support women and children (including clarity around the provision of single-sex services and associations) leads us to have serious concerns about any failures to question currently-fashionable acceptance of the demands of the transgender rights activist lobby.

We call on WHO to cancel the appointment of the proposed guideline development group and reconsider the approach that appears to have been outlined so far.  A panel of people with far wider experience and research could develop a valuable guideline; the currently proposed group will merely reproduce the notions that have already led many countries to express concern and revise their approach

Labour Women’s Declaration Working Group

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