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17 May 2024

Towards Equitable Futures: Reimagining Trans Health and Social Care

Unit researcher Cat Forward co-hosted a webinar which drew 80 attendees

Blue pink and white flags in a park

On 24 April, HSCWRU staff member Cat Forward co-hosted a webinar with UCL's Claudio Di Lorito about issues concerning trans health and social care. This was part of the LGBTQ+ health and social care across the life course webinar series. Around 80 people attended including people from local authorities, social workers, healthcare staff and those with lived experience. Four speakers shared their experiences and work with the audience.

Adam Shepherd is a trans man, junior doctor, and researcher. He spoke about the history of diverse genders globally and the negative impacts of using gender or sex as signals for indicative healthcare such as in the case of routine screening practices. Through using body inventories in medical records instead of surrogate markers, health inequities and inequalities experienced by trans and gender diverse people can be reduced without relying on individual healthcare workers.

Eva Echo (she/they) is an activist, writer and TEDx speaker with a focus on transgender rights and mental health. She spoke of her own experiences and then discussed how patients are left behind by the barriers imposed on healthcare access. Gatekeeping by introducing unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and trans broken arm syndrome* are just two examples of how doctors think they know better – whether it’s by delaying or outrightly denying care.

Leanne Taylor holds two lectureships in mental health law and social work at the University of Kent. She also provides CPD training for Approved Mental Health Professionals and is a specialist member of the First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health). She spoke about the Mental Health Act with regards trans inclusive care. Research needs to evaluate the experiences of transgender people who have been detained under the Mental Health Act (1983); to evaluate reasons for detention; length of detention; and impact of detention on wards which do not respect the identity and privacy of transgender people.

Chay Brown (he/him) is Director for Healthcare at TransActual, a trans led and run advocacy, education and empowerment organisation. They highlighted that trans and gender diverse people need good quality, patient-centred healthcare. Education and training is needed for healthcare staff to understand when it is relevant that a patient is transgender and gain basic communication skills. This is a necessity for all staff working in healthcare, as nongender specialists facilitate care into gender services, bridge care needs, and provide general healthcare services to transgender people. Trans people are not inherently complicated patients because they are trans.

This panel discussion was followed by a lively Q&A session with lots of interest in the topic and issues raised. The event was not recorded but a summary of the discussion and some signposting to further information was provided to attendees. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for future events in the series please contact

Feedback from the event

"[One of my children] is Trans, so very interested in this topic both personally and professionally!"

"Thank you for this event, which I found really interesting."

"It was a great event and I particularly enjoyed Leanne’s contribution. It was billed as reimagining trans health and social care, however the event appeared solely focused on healthcare and the NHS. It would be great to see a focus on social care for trans people at a future event."

"I really enjoyed the webinar, thank you for the follow up info."


Cat is co-hosting another event on 23 May 2024: LGBTQ+ and Health in Research

In this story

Cat Forward

Research Associate