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LETTERS—Anti-trans court ruling is an attack on autonomy for all

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Issue 2735
Trans+ Pride was a protest in London
Trans+ Pride was a protest in London (Pic: Guy Smallman)

A high Court judicial review earlier this month outlawed the use of puberty blockers for young trans people unless they can persuade doctors to go to court on their behalf.

Socialist Worker was right to take a hard line against the decision (Socialist Worker, 8 December).

The ruling will likely also have huge implications for people who are not trans.

The court said, “It is highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers.

“It is doubtful that a child aged 14 or 15 could understand and weigh the long-term risks and consequences of the administration of puberty blockers.” The judges concluded that, for some treatments, children would never be able to achieve “Gillick competence”.

The Gillick case was important because it said that young people had a right to consent to medical treatment without reference to their parents.

High Court decision over puberty blockers will put trans young people at risk
High Court decision over puberty blockers will put trans young people at risk
  Read More

This was as long as it could be proved they had “sufficient understanding” of what is proposed. It overruled parents wanting to stop children under 16 from accessing contraception from a doctor.

The latest decision has some potentially worrying implications for rights to reproductive healthcare and abortion.

The lawyer for the claimant was Paul Conrathe, who has undertaken actions for those who seek to restrict abortion through court action.

One of the witnesses for the claimant has ties to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a group that says it stands for “sanctity of life, and marriage and family”.

As the Lawyers For Choice group said, the judge’s decision “is a real threat to Gillick competence”.

“If this court can single out trans children and their decisions, there is no legal reason why another court can’t single out abortion-seeking children,” it said.

“In fact, now there’s precedent.”

All socialists should recognise an attack on trans rights is an attack on bodily autonomy for all.



Is TV ad a sign of hope, or cashing in?

It’s been interesting to observe how a supermarket advert featuring a simple conversation between a black father and daughter has caused such a backlash.

Adverts have always used “family life” to show good, bad and sad times to sell us things.

For me, seeing a black family in an ad is a breath of fresh air.

Back in 2013, I wrote to Tesco to applaud them for having a black family on a Christmas advert, and then having an Asian family the following year.

I don’t remember any outcry then, it was seen as natural. The reason some people have a problem this time around is their racist response to our Black Lives Matter movement.

It shows one of the ways our society has not come to terms with racism. What I did find very ironic about this whole episode is that we, the anti‑racists, have ended up applauding supermarkets for showing black people doing normal things.

On one hand, I think yes it is great and they should stand against racism, everybody should.

But on the other hand, it just feels that they’re just making money off the backs of black people, just as companies have done for generations upon generations.

Ifeoma Obi


Just in time weakness

News that the Honda factory in Swindon will have to shut temporarily due to a lack of parts is, on the face of it, another blow to workers at the plant.

Honda has already announced that it is to close permanently next year.

Union leaders often argue when workers are facing job losses that there is little we can do except beg for mercy. But the news from Swindon shows the power workers have to resist.

Multinational firms such as Honda spread production across different countries to reduce costs, with factories in different countries producing different parts of the final product.

To avoid tying up capital through stockpiling, they rely on so-called “just in time” supply arrangements.

The means that they only store enough parts at each plant for a few days or hours, relying on regular deliveries from suppliers to keep production going.

This makes them very vulnerable to strikes.

A stoppage by even a small number of workers can quickly bring the whole operation to a grinding halt and potentially cost the company millions of pounds in lost production.

Logistics workers who move components, such as lorry drivers and dockers, also have the power to quickly disrupt production for this reason.

Honda workers should demand that their union leaders mobilise their power to defend their jobs.

If union won’t do it, they should take things into their own hands and occupy the plant.

Tony Phillips

East London

Anti-Traveller racism comes from the top

Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities detail the way discrimination is leading to mental health issues and a “epidemic” level of suicides in a new report.

This anti-Traveller racism is encouraged by the government.

In September, home secretary Priti Patel spoke at a meeting organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, where she slandered Travellers as “criminal and violent”.

The comments would be condemned as racist were they directed against any other minority.

The Traveller movement has written an open letter to Patel demanding an apology for her “vile” anti-Traveller remarks.

She has yet to give one.

And the Board of Deputies has yet to condemn Patel or apologise for hosting a meeting at which such filthy racist sentiments were expressed.

Solidarity with Travellers.

Sasha Simic

East London

Players must fight racism

Racism from football match officials caused a match to be abandoned in one of the game’s highest profile competitions last week.

My team, PSG, walked off the pitch together with Basaksehir Istanbul in protest.

The people who run the “beautiful game” have nothing but grotesque motivations.

They care only for profit, and will only take action against racism if they are forced.

So players must make them face a penalty.


by email

My patience is being tested

I’ve been going round in circles trying to find out what happened to my Covid-19 home test result.

The NHS hotline says, “Don’t worry. It happens.”

But I am worried. I worry about people who’ve done a home test and, because they’ve also got no result to show, have had to go back to work.

They may be carrying the virus to friends and colleagues.

Stephen Millrine


An Oscar for the Tories?

To unfortunately paraphrase Oscar Wilde, one lockdown is a misfortune, but two are carelessness.

The Tory mishandling of this Covid-19 catastrophe amounts to mass murder of the vulnerable and the poor.

Zekria Ibrahimi

West London

Different life for privileged

The government are a bunch of blue gloves—they’ve never had to make a real decision because they’ve lived privileged and easy lives.

That means the decisions they are making now, about lockdowns for example, mostly affect people that aren’t like them.

The Dominic Cummings affair just shows the people who make the measures don’t stick to it themselves.

Bar worker


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