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Trans people ‘hung out to dry’ by NHS, grieving mother of young trans woman says

todaySeptember 21, 2023 1

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Trans people ‘hung out to dry’ by NHS, grieving mother of young trans woman says

Transphobia is a “deliberate policy” within the NHS, the family of a young trans woman has said.

Alice Litman, from Brighton, took her own life aged 20 in May 2022.

She had been on an NHS waiting list for almost three years for gender-affirming healthcare.

Following a three-day inquest in Hove, Alice’s family told Sky News her death should be a “wake-up call”.

“Transgender people are hung out to dry,” her mother Dr Caroline Litman, who was an NHS psychiatrist, said.

“Alice was a smart, intelligent young person and she could see that no one was taking care of her, and no one cared.”

Alice was 16 when she told her family she wanted to live as a woman.

She was referred to specialist NHS services at the Tavistock and Portman Gender Identity Clinic in 2019.

She had been waiting 1,023 days for her first appointment when she died.

“It’s kind of an act of aggression really,” Alice’s father, Peter, told Sky News of the long waiting list.

Alice Litman

Image:
Alice Litman

“If you know something’s there and you do nothing about it, it’s not a neutral act.

“It’s quite deliberate.”

Coroner Sarah Clarke described the services involved in Alice’s care as “underfunded and insufficiently resourced”.

Telling the court she would be issuing a prevention of future deaths report, Ms Clarke added: “It’s extremely important we recognise how important these issues are, not just here in Brighton and Hove, but everywhere.”

Alice Litman

Image:
Alice Litman

During the inquest, the head of the gender identity clinic said the number of trans people needing gender-affirming healthcare was an “order of magnitude” greater than the service could provide.

About one in 200 people in the UK did not identify with the sex on their birth certificate, according to the 2021 census.

Referring to her sister’s death, Kate Litman said: “I think it shows what the stakes of the debate are and what the conversation should be about.

“It’s not about trans women in sports and in toilets. We are literally talking about life and death.”

Ms Clarke adjourned the inquest to give a narrative conclusion in two weeks’ time.

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The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, and Alice’s GP, WellBN, told the inquest there was no denial of lifesaving emergency treatment but accepted there was a delay.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Every death is a tragedy and our sympathies go out to Alice Litman’s family.

“We support the action NHS England is taking to increase the capacity of specialised gender services, by investing nearly £8m in the new gender identity pilot clinics. These new services are already having an impact, removing 3,400 patients from the waiting list between July 2020 and May 2022,” the spokesperson said.

“In line with these changes, a new gender identity clinic is opening in Sussex next month, which will continue to help patients get the treatment they need sooner.”

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK

Written by: Newsroom

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