President Update: Matthew Mills

The work of 2022-23

It is an honour to be elected President of the BAGIS for a second term. I am grateful to the membership and to Council for their ongoing support and backing during a personally challenging time of lengthy recovery from covid-19. I believe leaders create leaders, not followers. My approach is to listen, garner the expertise of Council, and shape direction for the reflective and practical and benefit of members, centring the trans and non-binary people we serve. I have aimed to broaden Council representation of members from regions and services across the British Isles, as well professional groups, experts in trans healthcare models and delivery, and members of the trans community.

So far in my second term, I am pleased to report that Council has completed a review of membership processes, in light of the substantial redevelopment of the website. There is now a members’ area, with personalised login and profile, and communication forum for members to connect, network, dialogue, share ideas and support. Thank you to members for their patience during this hiatus and development period.

The BAGIS Council aims to develop broad, overarching ‘principles of care’ (higher level than clinical guidelines) which summarise robust, evidential and trans-centred and affirmed services that all members can embrace. We are currently in process of forming a working party to develop of an initial draft, which will subsequently be reviewed by the membership in a public consultation process. The working party shall consist of representatives from regions, professions, and experts in health care systems, including scrutiny from the trans and non-binary community. There will also be opportunities for members to provide specific input and perspective to the working party as required in the process.

It was a privilege to collaborate with the Welsh Gender Service and its third-party community groups in hosting a significantly inclusive digital symposium in 2021. I am now delighted to announce that our 7th Symposium will take place in person in Liverpool on 16th-17th June, hosted by the Cheshire and Merseyside Area Gender Identity Collaborative (CMAGIC) The theme speaks of new sharing and understanding and I am delighted to welcome all services to come together: Collaboration, Co-Production and Community in Gender Services. 

Whilst many of the traumatising effects of covid-19 appear to be resolving, we continue to live in times of deep socio-political unrest, and where solidarity, compassion and celebrating difference are wanting. The BAGIS is unreservedly opposed to the UK government’s decision to exclude trans people from a ban on conversion therapy and practices. The BAGIS also finds in the EHRC’s latest non-statutory guidance about how single sex exemptions in the Equality Act 2010 should be used, a core presumption to exclude rather than include, and which denigrates and dehumanises trans women. The BAGIS stands with trans and non-binary people in defence of their human rights, and is committed to condemning discrimination and transphobia in all its forms.