Tories use Cass review to stoke division

Fight for fully funded services under working-class democratic control

Michael Johnson, Socialist Party LGBTQ+ group

Ask anyone wanting to access NHS gender identity services and they can tell you – they aren’t working. Getting a referral is no simple task. Understaffing, a lack of funding and local provision means people wait years, at least, and often have to travel for miles up and down the country to even get a first appointment, let alone treatment.

The Guardian reports that around 5,000 children and adolescents are waiting for gender-related NHS services. The context is an NHS crisis with one in five people in the country now estimated to be on a waiting list and delays most prominent among 16-24-year-olds.

It’s clear that the Tories, increasingly hated, have no answers to this crisis – or any of the problems facing working-class people. They will continue to try to use trans issues in the so-called ‘culture wars’. Part of that could mean further cuts and closures of gender services. Starmer’s Labour has, true to form, abandoned promises to “stand with trans people” and pledged the continuation of private profiteering in health.

It is in this climate that Hilary Cass’s review of gender treatments and services for young people was released on 10 April. Whatever the contents of the report, the Tories would have used it as a tool to foment division and cut back services.

It’s clear that central to any safe and effective provision of healthcare for trans youth and trans people generally is ending the crisis in the NHS. The Socialist Party calls for ending cuts and privatisation, full public funding and ensuring the resources needed, not only in gender specific services but across the NHS, that would allow people to access the healthcare they need at the right time. Fighting for that requires a united working-class struggle that resists the Tory attempts to divide us.