Male staff must be allowed to use women’s facilities in hospitals, according to new trans guidelines from an NHS trust in Scotland.
A transgender policy document published by NHS Lanarkshire says women’s toilets, showers and changing rooms can be used by a male employee living as a woman, even if female members of staff object.
Five other NHS trusts, including Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Highland, have adopted similar policies.
‘Shocked and scared’
Sarah Phillimore, a London barrister who specialises in public law and child protection, described the guidance as “extremely alarming” and called the “Use of Toilets, Showers and Changing Facilities” section of the policy: “Unlawful and coercive.”
One nurse said changing into and out of her uniform in the presence of a man who claims to be living as a woman “shocks me and scares me”.
The nurse, who has worked with NHS Lanarkshire for over 20 years, said: “None of my female or male colleagues are aware of this policy nor have they been consulted.”
Another described how colleagues were “shocked to find that trans employees do not need any diagnosis, medication or surgery” and may dress as a woman for “erotic pleasure”.
Labour MSP Jenny Marra questioned the idea that gender is “assigned at birth”, a phrase that appears nearly a dozen times throughout the document.
She asked NHS Lanarkshire, “if gender is assigned at birth, why do you offer the service of identifying the sex of the child at 20 weeks’ gestation?” Her remarks prompted accusations from LGBT activists that she was promoting “fear and discrimination”.
But writing in the Scotsman newspaper, columnist Euan McColm defended Marra saying, “The ideology promoted by trans rights activists is a rigid one. Anyone who declares themselves a woman is to be treated as a woman and permitted access to women’s spaces.”
Campaign group For Women Scotland has written to Scotland’s Health Minister demanding the policy be “immediately withdrawn and an investigation conducted”.
It wrote that the policy “not only misrepresents the Equality Act, the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) and the Public Sector Equality Duty, it even frames the mere act of thinking of a male as male as ‘discriminatory practice’.”
NHS Lanarkshire has removed the policy from its website.