Our Campaigning Policies

As an organisation that supports and advocates for young trans, non-binary, questioning and intersex people in Northern Ireland, it’s important that we have a clear direction for our lobbying, campaigning, and work generally. We’ve used our considerable experience supporting trans young people from all sorts of backgrounds to build and be confident in the policy we’ve outlined below.

We’ve laid out our stances in general categories such as education, healthcare, criminal justice and legal reform, as well as some general wider policy that affects trans young people specifically as marginalised people within society.

Education Policy

We support significant reforms of the education system in Northern Ireland to better serve, protect and include trans young people:

  • Gender-inclusive, integrated schools and institutions at all levels should be available throughout Northern Ireland to all young people
  • Single-gender schools should be phased out
  • Schools should adopt a gender-neutral uniform list by combining existing segregated lists, and allow young people to wear the uniform most comfortable to them
  • Inclusive and safe gender-neutral toilets, changing facilities and other typically gender-segregated spaces should be mandatory in all schools for the use of all young people
  • Schools should be required to facilitate the transition of a young trans or non-binary person in all cases, and reasonable accommodations must be made for all pupils
  • Young people should have their right to a “known-as” name in school protected and enacted through schools records systems
  • Mandatory, fact-based, LGBTQ-inclusive, age-appropriate sex and relationships education should be provided to all young people throughout their school life
  • Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, or similar anti-discrimination legislation, should be extended to all individual schools and educational institutions
  • Mandatory training on LGBTQ issues should be provided to all teaching, administration and support staff throughout the education system at all levels, including on trans & non-binary topics at Primary School level
  • The Department for Education should provide comprehensive guidelines for schools to support, protect and include trans, non-binary and questioning young people
  • Support should be provided to young people who want to establish clubs or societies for trans & non-binary people or LGBTQ people generally
  • A comprehensive anti-bullying strategy that takes account of transphobic bullying should be produced, along with appropriate measures for recording transphobic motives of bullying where relevant

Health & Social Care Policy

The Health & Social Care system in Northern Ireland has several key failings for trans, non-binary and intersex young people. We recommend the following changes:

  • A full ban on physical interventions on intersex infants and young people who are unable to consent themselves should be enacted where such interventions are not medically necessary
  • In the short term, transition-related healthcare services should follow the guidelines they have stated they already follow under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, to a liberal interpretation to enable the provision of care to more trans & non-binary young people
  • In the medium term, transition-related healthcare services for patients of all ages should be available on an “informed consent” basis, with interventions being provided on an individual basis, outside of a psychiatric or psychosexual context, without the need for social transition, on the basis of demonstrating informed consent where other medical contraindications are not present
  • The Department of Health should provide comprehensive guidance for healthcare professionals supporting trans & non-binary people
  • Appropriate training on trans & non-binary topics should be provided to all healthcare, managerial and support staff within Health & Social Care NI and associated organisations
  • Sexual health services, including Genito-Urinary Medicine services, should be available in a trans-inclusive model, and gender segregation of waiting rooms, testing services and clinics should end
  • Trans & non-binary people should be facilitated access to gender-segregated services, wards and clinics, though these should be phased out where possible
  • Screening and preventative care for typically-considered gendered conditions like breast cancer and prostate cancer should be made accessible and welcoming to trans & non-binary people
  • Gynaecological and obstetrical services should be made accessible and welcoming to trans & non-binary people
  • Abortion should be decriminalised, and at the very least, the Abortion Act 1967 should be extended to Northern Ireland

Criminal Justice & Legal Reform

We support the following reforms to the criminal justice system and legislation in Northern Ireland:

  • The Gender Recognition Act 2004 should be updated to provide gender recognition to all trans & non-binary people regardless of age, gender, transition status, medical supervision, medical transition or marital status, on the basis of self-declaration. The model should be inclusive of non-binary people, accessible to under-18s, accessible to under-16s on the basis of parental consent or court order (similar to name-change law), and without the use of the Gender Recognition Panel or the Gender Recognition Register.
  • Sex work should be decriminalised, enabling sex workers to work safely, together, and with recourse to justice
  • Trans prisoners should have the guaranteed right to safe housing in appropriate facilities for their gender, without the use of “protective solitary confinement”, with access to transition healthcare
  • “Sex by deception” must not be used against trans people solely because they are not out as trans to sexual or romantic partners
  • Hate crime laws should be strengthened to bring punishments for hate crime on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity in line with those on the basis of race, religion or political background
  • Hate crime laws and Police processes should be updated to make it possible to pursue hate crimes on multiple motives for the victims of more complex hate crime
  • Better and more suitable support should be provided by the Police and Victim Support for trans victims of crime
  • Additional support through the Housing Executive and social housing system should be available for victims of homophobic and transphobic hate crime and intimidation, in line with those available for victims of hate crime and intimidation on the grounds of race, religion and political background
  • Good Relations work should be extended from race, religion and political background to the other “Section 75” groups: age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender (including status as a trans or non-binary person), disability and having dependent persons
  • Provision of “reparative” or “conversion” therapy to attempt to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity should be made unlawful
  • Employment protection loopholes in the Gender Recognition Act 2004 relating to the Genuine Occupational Requirement should be closed
  • Trans-inclusive marriage equality legislation should be enacted
  • The definition of trans people in law should be updated to explicitly include all people who self-define as transgender and/or non-binary
  • Employment protections for trans & non-binary people should be expanded at least in line with protections in England, Scotland and Wales, removing the requirement for medical supervision
  • Core funding should be guaranteed from the Northern Ireland Executive to LGBTQ sector organisations on a similar level to other “Section 75” groups, taking in mind the population represented

General Policy

There are large parts of society which are inaccessible or hostile to trans & non-binary young people, and this leads to poor experiences and life chances. We therefore support the following changes to the law and society in general:

  • Austerity programmes should be rolled back and public services re-established in a manner which fully support trans & non-binary people who need them
  • The possession and personal use of drugs should be decriminalised
  • A living wage and fit-for-purpose welfare state should be built and made accessible for trans & non-binary people

We are updating this policy as we develop our work and lobbying efforts. Please contact us if you have any questions, concerns or comments on any aspect of our current policy.