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Trans-identified males in women's hospital wards policy under review in UK, health board says

Trans-identified males in women's hospital wards policy under review in UK, health board says

A woman passes an NHS sign at The Royal London Hospital in London, Britain May 13, 2017. | REUTERS/Neil Hall

Official guidance in the United Kingdom urging medical professionals to chastise women who express discomfort with sharing hospital wards with trans-identifying males is being reviewed.

The U.K. Times reported that the National Health Service in Greater Glasgow and Clyde had urged staff to treat women who objected to sleeping next to patients who appear to be male as through they were racists. But that policy is now under review by the health board following a consultation with the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Members of the Scottish parliament were informed Wednesday that Scottish officials backed “single sex exemptions” in some circumstances, after Joan McAlpine, an MSP and critic of transgender ideology, voiced her concerns about the hospital policy.

"NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s gender reassignment policy review says that a female patient who is distressed at the presence of a male-bodied trans-identified person in the next bed should be told that that person is female and that her complaint is similar to a white woman complaining about a black patient being in the next bed," McAlpine said.

“Such statements in official documents cast doubt on assurances that the government is committed to maintaining women’s privacy and dignity and the single-sex exemptions in the Equality Act 2010.”

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The review comes as ongoing debate occurs, particularly among the Labour party, about how and why laws and policies should recognize and cater to individuals who self-identify as something other than their biological sex. Women's rights campaigners across the U.K. have in recent years contested allowing males into female-only spaces amid an increasing presence of transgender-identifying persons.

The Equality Act of 2010 presently permits authorities to restrict some services for women such as rape crisis facilities where women may feel uncomfortable speaking to counselors who appear as male.

"The health board would not specify what advice it had received from the EHRC but said the policy was under consideration," the U.K. Times reported.

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The review is also the latest of moves that have been set in motion related to transgender issues.

Last month, a team of doctors was formed to review the safety of drugs used to halt puberty in youth who present with gender dysphoria. The NHS also recently announced that it was revisiting its rules surrounding allowing young people to go on the experimental drugs without the approval of their parents.

Last week, a senior judge on the U.K.'s highest court approved a full trial in the divisional court in a case against the Tavistock gender clinic — in which a female claimant who underwent a hormonal gender transition during her teen years says she was harmed at the facility — before the end of July.

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