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Teenage trans activists scale NHS England London HQ as protest enters third day

Stonewall co-founder Lisa Power reacts: “It’s good to see young people taking direct action against injustice”

By Jamie Tabberer

Protestors scaling the NHS building in London over the weekend
The group had grown to seven by Monday 1 July 2024 (Image: Provided by Trans Kids Deserve Better)

A group of teenage protestors scaled NHS England London’s Wellington House over the weekend to demand better healthcare for trans people.

The protest at 133–135 Waterloo Road began with two people climbing the building’s facade on Saturday 29 June 2024, to coincide with Pride In London.

A source told Attitude that the seven are “still there and have been there since Saturday 1pm. They have enough to eat and drink and are being supported by a team of other young trans people and allies.”

Organised by the Trans Kids Deserve Better action network, the group has since grown to seven. Although their identities are so far unknown, they all claim to be under 18.

“We are not pawns for your politics”

The group were pictured brandishing messaging saying: “Trans Kids Deserve Better: we are not pawns for your politics.”

According to a statement issued by Trans Kids Deserve Better, the protest calls for “access to gender affirming healthcare for trans children and young people, protection from discrimination and disrespect in their daily lives and the right to be heard in all decisions that affect them.”

The protest follows the Conservative government’s emergency ban on puberty blocker access in the UK, a move supported by Labour’s Wes Streeting, the likely next Secretary of State for Health.

“We may not have a vote, but it is our lives that are at stake” (Image: Provided by Trans Kids Deserve Better)

“We are staging this protest to remind politicians and voters that we’re real kids, not just political talking points,” said one of the activists, adding “we may not have a vote, but it is our lives that are at stake.

“Gender-affirming healthcare is a matter of life and death for us, and we hope that our actions will bring awareness to this fact and encourage others to fight for the healthcare and dignity that we are so shamefully denied.”

“I’m proud of them”

Prominent LGBTQ community voices have voiced their support for the protest. Among them, Stonewall co-founder and LGBTQ campaigner Lisa Power (she/her), who said: “My heart leaped when I saw what they’d done; it’s good to see young people taking direct action against injustice and the queer community has been missing its spirit for a while. Fittingly for Pride month, I’m proud of them.”

Chay Brown (he/him), Director of TransActual, said: “Trans people have suffered as a result of the so-called ‘culture war’. Political interference has prevented progress on human rights and resulted in extremely damaging policy making. Trans youth have been targeted, with little consideration from politicians about the impact their words and actions have on those they’re talking about. Recent changes to policy around puberty blockers in particular have led to a mental health crisis amongst trans youth, and sadly this has resulted in deaths.”

“It is our job as adults to support our young people”

Dr Ronx (they/them), a emergency medicine doctor and TV personality, meanwhile added: “My passion is young people. I want them to stay alive, survive and thrive. It is our job as adults to support our young people, even when we don’t understand their lived experiences. We as adults must centre their humanities away from the politics of the world. Trans young people need us all to fight for them.

“They aren’t political fodder, they are experiencing healthcare injustices resulting in increased levels of physical and mental pain and death by suicide. Trust me and trust my peers when we say support us to support them. As a trans non-binary doctor I see and hear the struggles of trans youth in and away from work. It’s real. Can we just stop infighting as adults and come together for our youth? I pledge to always centre the humanity of trans young people, will you join me?”