BAGIS

BAGIS

BRITISH ASSOCIATION OF GENDER IDENTITY SPECIALISTS

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 the exchange of knowledge of gender dysphoria and transgender health. It is an association and network 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 trans and non-binary people. The Association encourages and fosters the highest standards of practice amongst its members, based upon the best available evidence, and advocates the adoption of similar standards amongst all health professionals in the British Isles.

The purposes of BAGIS are:

  • to establish a professional association to encourage the highest standards of practice, education, and research in the field of transgender health
  • to promote cooperation between health professionals, academics and allied professionals working in the field of 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 trans and non-binary people in the promotion of excellence in transgender healthcare.

NOTICE: Annual General Meeting and Council Elections to be held on Thursday 7th October 2021 1-2pm.

  • The meeting will held online and we hope to welcome as many members as possible. Joining instructions will be emailed to members in early October.
  • Elections will be held for President, Treasurer, Secretary, and four council members positions which run for 2 years.
  • Nominations for these roles are now open. Candidates are required to hold full membership of BAGIS, to be nominated and seconded by full members of BAGIS.
  • Nominations are to be sent by email to the Secretary, Sarah Murjan. Nominations close 9am Thursday 9th September 2021
  • We welcome nominations from all full members of BAGIS
  • The newly elected council in October will ensure that council has balanced representation across all parts of the British Isles, across services, sectors and professional groups. Council can co-opt members for specific project roles, and to maintain inclusive representation.
  • We thank our community representative who is the meticulous and rigorous election scrutineer to the council.

President Update: Matthew Mills August 2021

We emerge cautiously from lockdown, encouraged by the vaccination roll out to younger age groups, but mindful of the rapid spread of the Delta variant. This variant appears to pose a significant threat of hospitalisation and death for unvaccinated people. Gender services, along with many health services across the British Isles, have adapted by delivering many consultations and therapy as digital appointments. Clients who need and choose to be seen in person will be offered in-clinic appointments with appropriate preparation and safety measures, depending on the particular remit of the service. Voice and communication therapy appointments, for example, have been re-visioned as individual and group sessions online. These developments initiated to manage both the risks of in-room voice work spreading covid more easily and the limitations to voice exploration wearing protective face covering, have proven efficient and effective according to client report. In general services which aim to be affirmative to the trans community are mindful to balance convenience, safety and collaborative decision making which makes sense to both client and clinician.

BAGIS held its 6th Scientific Symposium: Intersections, Experience and Evidence on 18th and 19th March 2021, delivered as a digital event. I am pleased that it provided a significant learning opportunity to reflect on clinical privilege, and the need to better understand and centre the trans community lived experience in the development of services and in the quality of clinical interaction. Contributions from the Welsh Gender Service and their partners, and from community experts on the TPOC panel, were highly informative, thought-provoking and often moving, I want to acknowledge the challenges faced and resilience required by trans community speakers to share personal experience in front of an audience which embodies clinical authority and privilege.

In June, the Court of Appeal heard submissions in relation to the decision made by the High Court in December 2020 regarding the ability of trans adolescents under 16 years to consent to puberty blocking treatment. Notably, the court expressed concern about whether the original judgment was in line with the Gillick principles, and queried whether the Court should have provided any such guidance given that the Tavistock NHS Trust were not found to be acting illegally. The hearing allowed wide-ranging testimonials and written evidence from international experts on hormones, The Endocrine Society, and a vast coalition of LGBTQ+ charities, education and health organisations, which detailed the significant harm done by the Divisional Court’s ruling in December to the rights of trans young people and their families. We await the Court of Appeal handing down its decision.

I commenced my presidency with the hope to tackle a number of work-streams:

    • a national dialogue about service responses to COVID-19 and effective service delivery adaptations;
    • a position statement on the Judicial Review 1st December 2020, with ongoing monitoring and analysis;
    • increased collaboration with the trans and non-binary community in content and delivery of the symposia;
    • co-option of members to council from diverse and unrepresented areas of the British Isles in elected role holders;
    • ongoing analysis and data collection to monitor inequality of access to affirmative fertility preservation services for trans people
    • beginning processes towards producing clinical principles pertinent to the British Isles.

I am aware that the process of drafting clinical principles is not fast, as we continue to debate the purpose of having them. I recommend the new council in October works to communicate actively with BAGIS members about all stages of producing draft principles. Forming a working party with clear application process which all members can take part in is the start. Once a clear working party is formed guarenteeing diverse perspectives from gender services and professionals groups across the British Isles and in dialogue with trans community, a draft will move to a member consultation process and feedback review before presenting at AGM. Despite lockdown, I reflect that more could have been done in the early stages to make working party membership more accessible and transparent. I will endeavour to steer council through this process in the coming year, either as ex officio president or in second term of office should I be re-elected. I thank all members for their contributions.

Lastly, I am delighted to announce that council has approved the development of a new website with vastly superior functionality. It will include members personal login, member profile page giving (for example) details of current membership status, place of work, professional group. There will also be a shared members area with message boarding and chat function. I hope this new site, due to go live around early October, will enable all members to develop stronger networks of support with each other. Improved access to information about the work of BAGIS, about how to get involved and have your say about its role and direction,  will foster richer opportunity for participation and collaboration in 2022.

 

BAGIS Statement regarding the Judicial Review 1st December 2020

The British Association of Gender Identity Specialists council wishes to express disappointment in the legal judgment which denies the competence and capacity of young transgender people under 18 years of age to consent to hormonal intervention as part of their gender development. It makes a distinction between the self-understanding, bodily autonomy and rights of young trans people and the self-understanding, bodily autonomy and rights of young people who are not transgender. The verdict seems to invalidate the lived experience of trans people and privileges a cisgender outcome over a transgender outcome. The BAGIS is opposed to such discrimination, whenever and wherever it arises. 

The health and wellbeing of trans people is of the highest priority to the BAGIS. We are deeply concerned about the effect the judgement may have on trans people and their lives. The Council has already been made aware of the considerable psychological distress expressed by members of trans youth communities which has arisen as a direct result of the judgement. We implore the government through NHS England and NHS Wales to commit to making support available to children and young people to manage their distress about the outcome of this ruling. 

We await further information regarding appeal of the Judicial Review, and the impact the recent verdict will have on clinical practice and young trans people. In the meantime, the BAGIS council continues to hold clinicians working in the field of trans healthcare across the British Isles in the highest regard and has every confidence in the competence of those specialists working with trans youth. In particular, we wish to express our solidarity and support for those specialists working with trans youth in England and Wales at an extremely challenging time.