This manifesto was published by the Edinburgh chapter of Action For Trans Health. The transgender organisation demands … well, everything. Reproduced here verbatim; the only thing I’ve done is some formatting. Bold text is the author’s.
ATH is a national organisation, with individual chapters acting autonomously or together. In 2015, it advised the Parliamentary Select Committee on Transgender Equalities. The Edinburgh chapter is one of the most active & influential. Both Edinburgh and London ATH celebrated last week’s trans assault on Maria MacLachlan.
TRANS HEALTH MANIFESTO
Following the centuries-long repression of trans lives at the hands of the state, the next stage in the UK government’s war of bureaucratic attrition is the recent publication of an NHS consultation that fails in every possible capacity, and a survey that gathers less data than we’ve already presented them. We call upon everyone fighting for the health of trans people to boycott this consultation & the survey, and reject its procedures & results in full.
We encourage hostile participation in the form of direct submissions of demands that don’t react to the questions posed or restrict themselves to the scope imposed by the government.
We wholly reject the NHS’s attempt to codify the abuse, torment & traumatisation of trans people under the guise of ‘healthcare’. We demand accountability for the historic & present abuse of power that the NHS has encouraged glorified psychiatrists to carry out. You do not own our bodies, you cannot control our lives, and you will not prevent our needs being met. We will not tolerate compromise.
The following living document is our vision for trans futures. We do not consider that our work will ever be complete, there will always be greater things on the horizon. As such, this manifesto is not final, but an open draft which will evolve as we do.
This is our call to action.
We will fight anyone who stands in the way of universal liberation.
This is war, and we will win.
TRANS HEALTH MANIFESTO
Trans health is bodily autonomy. We will express our needs, and they will be met. We will change our bodies however we want. We will have universally accessible and freely available hormones & blockers, surgical procedures, and any other relevant treatments and therapies. We will end the medical gatekeeping of our bodies.
We will have full, historical accountability for the abuses perpetuated against us in the name of ‘healthcare’.
We will see reparations for these crimes, and the crimes committed against others in our names.
We are not too ill, too disabled, too anxious, too depressed, too psychotic, too Mad, too foreign, too young, too old, too fat, too thin, too poor, or too queer to make decisions about our bodies and our futures. We are all self-medicating. Our agency will be recognised. We each labour far harder for the health of ourselves and those around us than any doctor ever has, and we will continue build supportive communities on principles of mutual aid.
We deny the separation of bodies, minds, and selves – a violence against any part of us is a violence against all of us. We believe that the epidemic of chronic conditions in our communities is a consequence of the war of attrition waged against us over centuries. We do not exist in isolation, and it is essential to our healthcare that we are all healing together, healing each other, and healing our world. We will heal the damage of borders and states, government and authority, capitalism and imperialism.
We recognise that the history of trans medicine is a history of colonial and fascist abuse.
We see the history of eugenicist experimentation from Nazi concentration camps, to the colonial implentation of the West’s regime of the gender binary, to virginity tests for South Asian and other Women of Colour in the UK in the 1970s; from the sterilisation & birth control trials forced on the women of Puerto Rico, to the thousands of Black and brown people who have died on NHS psychiatric wards; from the denial of the reproductive rights of disabled people, to the denial of access to abortions to people in the North of Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, past and present.
We see the continued manifestation of eugenicist medicine in the denial of our bodily autonomy as trans people today: from coercive surgeries on intersex infants, to forced sterilisation in parts of europe, policing of and misinformation regarding our sexual reproduction, to gatekeeping of surgeries and medicines.
Our fight for bodily autonomy cannot be separated from our fight for reproductive justice. The demand to do what we want with our bodies is necessarily a demand for free and accessible abortions, for the decriminalisation of sex work, and for universal self-determination.
We fight for an end to borders, prisons and police.
We recognise that we do not exist independently of our environment, and so our fight for self-determination and health is a fight for climate justice, too. We are not separate from our environment, health is unattainable while the water is poisoned and the land is scorched.
There will be no clinics, and no authorities.
We will conduct our own research, and experiment with our own bodies. We will heal and grow together. We will accumulate knowledge and share it freely and accessibly. We demand nothing less than the total abolition of the clinic, of psychiatry, and of the medical-industrial complex. We demand an end to capitalist & colonialist “medicine”.
We demand hormones & blockers are made available over-the-counter and by free prescription upon request.
We need free, universal access to safe hormones & blockers at any age, the opportunity to decide our own doses, and universally accessible information on the safety & efficacy of different regimens. We are already taking hormones in this way, so this demand is simply that the danger of doing so is effectively mitigated.
We demand that all therapies that can be are made available at drop-ins, with self-referral for any therapy or procedure for which drop-in is unsuitable.
We demand anonymous blood tests, both postal & at drop-in endocrinology clinics, where we can seek the advice of a consultant if we wish.
We demand the freedom to alter our bodies without justification.
We demand an end to all surgical prerequisites – nobody should have to prove life experience,health or have to be taking hormones in order to exercise bodily autonomy. We demand that these surgeries can be highly customised to meet our individual & unique needs.
We demand the right to multiple surgeries, including reversal of previous surgeries if desired, so that we do not have to fear regret.
We demand the free & timely provision of genital surgeries, additive & reductive chest surgeries, hysterectomies and orchiectomies, tracheal & vocal surgeries, facial surgeries, lipoplasty, contouring & microdermabrasion, surgical hair removal & transplantation, and any other possible procedure to meet our needs as we express them.
We demand resources for hair removal anywhere on our bodies, and the option of local anesthetic during these procedures. We demand voice coaching that does not coerce us to alter our voices in ways we do not express a need for, but respects our accents and our right to express ourselves however we desire.
We demand access to counselling & and any other therapies we choose.
We demand the revocation of medical licenses from all gender clinic doctors & nurses, past and present.
We demand the power to hold abusers of medical & administrative power accountable for historical & present injustices.
We demand medical training to enable us to safely carry out medical procedures & research for each other, for anyone of us who wants to learn. We will enhance our collective knowledge, so that the means to understand our bodies is universally accessible. We demand to improve the quality of medications we take and procedures we undergo, to reduce negative side-effects in the long term, and to highlight our own experience and understanding of their effects on our bodies.
We demand research centres & libraries of knowledge, autonomously & horizontally organised by and for trans people, in which research subjects are equal participants in deciding the experiments conducted & the manner in which those experiments are carried out.
We demand full funding for any research or projects undertaken by these collectives.
We demand mandatory education, written & taught entirely by trans people, at all educational stages, from nursery to adulthood.
Trans kids have a need to understand themselves, in the context of their own bodies, lives & experiences. We must repair the damage done by section 28, the legacy of which is still causing harm to today’s children.
We demand material reparations for historical abuses against trans people, and for all people hurt by eugenicist medical practices and policies.
We demand an end to birth certificates and to legal gender.
Gender records should be anonymised, and only ever recorded as part of equalities monitoring. Neither government, nor any institution, has any justification for keeping a register of trans people. Birth certificates are not just a violence against trans people, they are a material to the state’s oppression of “undocumented” immigrants and asylum seekers.
We demand good quality, accessible & safe homes for all; and demand adquate resources to trans and marginalised people to establish communes & housing co-operatives to schemes and projects.
We demand that trans people are immediately freed from police, military & government contracts without repercussions. We reject the system of blackmail that corporations and governments engage in, whereby trans people who can work are “rewarded” with slightly less mistreatment in exchange for the exploitation of our labour. We will not allow pinkwashing of the violence of capitalism, imperialism and the state.
We demand amnesty, recourse to public funds and indefinite right to remain for all trans, lesbian, gay and bisexual immigrants & asylum seekers. No one is illegal.
We demand immediate release & pardon for all trans prisoners.
Edinburgh Action for Trans Health