41.Submission from Captain Kristina Sheffield
BA (Psych) SCR BCR
Having read the Draft Gender Recognition Bill,
evidence is hereby submitted challenging the following aspects
and omissions from the Bill.
A. Diagnosis and TreatmentThe Draft
Bill fails to comply with accepted medical criteria for the determining
1. Transsexualism is a medical condition,
which has been defined, diagnosed and treated by medicine. It
has been diagnosed and treated by those medicos who are specialist
in that field and who follow the internationally accepted medical
procedures as laid down and published by the Harry Benjamin Institute.
Copies of which are available on the internet or from specialists
in this field. ie Dr. D. Montgomery at the Gender Clinic Charing
Cross Hospital in Hammersmith London.
2. Specialists in this country follow and
abide by these procedures. It is a very complicated issue and
these strict procedures are followed religiously as transsexualism
is much more than just a person living in a particular role for
a period of time. The Government/State, by its own admission does
not have a definition of transsexualism. If they did, then a state
of understanding this condition would exist and this Draft Bill
would not have been raised in this particular form. A gross lack
of the understanding of transsexualism exists here. This Draft
Bill certainly encompasses transsexuals but it also encompasses
non-transsexuals (transgenderists)those who wish to live
their lives looking like members of the opposite sex but without
wanting to be members of the opposite sex. Transsexuals are convinced
that they are members of the opposite sex and view their genitalia
with abhorrence. There is a conviction that their bodies and genitalia
must be changedas definedand live the rest of their
lives as members of their reassigned sex. Non-transsexuals, however,
are quite happy to change their physical appearance to that of
the opposite sex through hormone treatment and/or cosmetic surgery
etc, live the rest of their lives in that role but they wish to
retain their existing genitalia. (not to be confused with transsexuals
unable to have surgery for health reasons) Such people are not
medically classified as transsexuals. Although they fill the criteria
as laid down in this Draft Bill they are not transsexual so they
cannot and must not be included or encompassed by this Bill. To
do so, particularly in the case of the male to female (the man
living as a woman), would confuse society as a whole, as has been
shown in recent media releases, degrade women in all aspects of
life, allow marriage between those with "like genitalia"thus
opening the door for homosexual marriages.
3. The Draft Bill falls drastically short
of the Medical Criteria laid down for the treatment of Transsexuals
and fails to comply with those criteria as defined by the Harry
Benjamin Institute ie Section 1 (4)(b) would not be permitted
by medicine as this is a minimum period and although a person
may have lived in the role for two years or more they may still
not have convinced their attending psychiatrists that they are
4. Paragraph l(4)(d) referssee section
2. The Evidence as referred to in section 2 (1 )(a) calls for
medical reports from two registered medical practitioners, one
of which may not be practising in the field of transsexualism.
This fails to comply with the Harry Benjamin criteria which calls
for the minimum of two years treatment, the transsexualism to
be confirmed by the attending psychiatrist AND then endorsed by
another psychiatrist, who specialises in the field of transsexualism,
and only when both psychiatrists agree is the person confirmed
as being transsexual and put forward for gender reassignment surgery.
If they fail to agree, treatment continues or the individual is
treated for a different condition. A psychologist's report is
called for at section 2 (l)(b). Under the Harry Benjamin criteria,
that psychologist must be under the supervision of a psychiatrist
specialising in transsexualism. The psychologist is also required
to refer an individual to a second psychiatrist as stated above.
5. It can be seen that section 2 subsection
(1) fails to comply with the medical criteria and as such subsection
(1) should be scrapped and rephrased in order to comply with the
medical criteria as laid down. Only after medical confirmation
in accordance with the Harry Benjamin Criteria, that a person
is transsexual, and that they are awaiting or have undergone final
surgery should a gender recognition certificate be issued.
6. Not enough effort or consultation with
medical experts in this field has been carried out. It is necessary
to refer to those experts who specialise in this field of medicine
for a clear and precise definition and understanding of transsexualism"this
highly complicated and often misunderstood medical condition.
It is crystal clear that the State's interpretation of transsexualism
when compared to the medical criteria, as laid down by Harry Benjamin,
is as far apart as "chalk and cheese"". No law
can or should be passed when the basis upon which it relies is
flawed in the extreme.
B. COMPENSATIONthe Draft Bill does
not provide for compensation that may be due. This is challenged
1. Having achieved a High School education
and a substantial amount of GCE equivalent passes, having been
educated in Canada, and also having learnt to fly there, I decided
to embark on a career in aviation. Both my parents encouraged
this. My father having been a Royal Air Force Officer and my mother
a High School maths teacher taught me the importance of a good
education in order to prepare for the future ahead and for that
period of time after one retires.
2. Initially in the pursuit of my career,
having obtained my licences to fly at the age of 17, 1 entered
the world of professional aviation by teaching others how to fly.
Later I was to enter the Royal Air Force as a Commissioned Officer
and pilot where I remained until I left the Service following
the big defence cuts. Having gained valuable experience in the
flying of large aircraft and after obtaining further professional
qualifications and licences I entered the highly professional
world of aviation by becoming an airline pilot.
3. I had a good future; I had my own house,
a nice car and reasonable prospects with a pension based on final
salary. This was all to be lost when, in 1985, I was diagnosed
with transsexualism and despite the fact that the Civil Aviation
Authority found no reason to revoke my licence I was immediately
dismissed from my employ which was to be the beginning of the
end of my career. Dismissed, humiliated and all without the right
of redress. No law existed to protect me. My life was to change.
Medical treatment was sought and the person I had been disappeared
forever. My way of life and quality of life was to change dramatically
from this time on and although I was able to get some employment
this was short lived and I was dismissed as soon as my transsexualism
was disclosed. It couldn't be hidden. With the absence of protection/discrimination
laws, the State's Employment records, Inland Revenue records etcall
available to employers and their staffensured that any
or all employers would be party to confidential medical information
that I was either undergoing or had undergone medical treatment
for a change of gender. Time and time again this occurred. However,
by deliberately not disclosing one's "legal" sex on
a job application left one open to dismissal. Not just for being
transsexual but also for lying on an application form. A "Catch
22" situation. In addition, companies could and did disclose
this information to other companies thus preventing me from further
employment. Eventually I lost my house, my possessions and unless
I obtained employment I would also lose my "professional
4. In fact, the State's policy of refusing
transsexuals to use their adopted gender forced me to disclose
confidential medical information to those not entitled to know
my medical history including those not held liable by strict medical
confidentiality rules and regulations. Whereby that information
could and was passed to one and all, thus exposing me to ridicule
5. In 1987, 1 became unemployable in the
UK and I have not worked in this country since then, as State
records will show. Even though I presented quite successfully
as a reasonably attractive woman, I became an object of ridicule
within the UK aviation industry and when I was invited to attend
interviews I became the target of smutty jokes and I was continually
humiliated and degraded; all without the right of redress.
6. In order to preserve my professional
qualifications, I was forced into voluntary exile and seek employment
outside the UK. I did so successfully in such places as USA, Australia,
Europe, Africa etc and although these contracts were freelance
and short lived, I never had to endure the degradation that was
levelled against me by the UK airline industry or the State. Although
these contracts were few and far between I was able to preserve
my professional qualifications and self esteem; something I would
have been unable to do had I stayed in the UK.
7. Life outside the UK was normal but on
completion of those contracts it was necessary to return to the
UK where all these horrors would raise their ugly heads again.
Not from just within the airline industry but in all aspects of
life because the State refused to protect my Human Rights.
8. On my return to the UK (having been forced
to seek employment abroad), I would be questioned by the Employment
Services as to my right to be in the UK. My right to register
as being unemployed within the UK would also be questioned. Now,
having been forced to seek employment outside the UK, because
of an intolerant State, the State has reduced my entitlement to
a UK State pension. Contributions could not be paid. Although
one is still able to contribute whilst outside the UK, this was
made impossible by the State's attitude towards transsexuals and
against me in particular.
9. In the course of seeking medical treatment
and surgical intervention many of the medicos to whom I attended
for treatment under the NHS told mequote "I am not
prepared to spend good NHS funds on the likes of you." Charming,
especially when those same medicos would have been quite happy
to treat me if I went privately and paid them accordingly. As
such I had to seek private medical treatment etc. (but elsewhere)
whereby all funds available would be used for medical treatment
leaving very little for everyday living expenses. I have never
received any NHS funding for any surgical intervention etc other
than the initial diagnosis of my transsexualism and my continuing
medication. I am now frightened about discussing anything with
NHS doctors because of the fear of rejection by them.
10. In 1996, following P v S and Cornwall
County Council in the European Court of Justice, the State interpreted
this ruling as protection for only those working within the public/government
sector. Those employed within the private sector remained unprotected.
It is unbelievable that the State would refuse to protect all
transsexuals by misusing a court ruling in a manner that continued
to isolate members of society and introduce a two-tier treatment
for transsexuals within the UK. I do not believe that the Court
intended its ruling to be used in such a discriminatory manner.
The State clearly wished to exclude such people from receiving
their basic human rights and continued to do so by introducing
this two tier discrimination.
11. Had my human rights been protected I
would have been able to remain in employment within the UK. enjoying
a continuously improving quality of life and assured of a healthy
pension at retirement. I would have received a final salary in
excess of £78,000 per annum with a pension in excess of £33,000
per annum. A total of some £1 million to £1.5 million.
In addition to the lost pension, there are lost earnings totalling
some £1 million to £1.5 million at today's values.
12. Where am I today? Living off State benefits
of £54 per week. Living in a "one up one down"
because the State says that that is all I'm entitled to. I also
receive Housing Benefit of £50 a week together with Council
Tax benefit. Do you see what the State has taken away from me?
13. It MUST be appreciated that the State
has never done anything voluntarily to alleviate the transsexuals'
position within society. Courts of law have always imposed all
changes introduced to date, and even then the State has only done
the bare minimum or even less (see P v S above).
14. The State owes compensation to those
who have suffered so harshly for hardship and loss of earnings.
Compensation etc. is NOT included in the Draft Bill. The State
has declared that "It has no plans to pay compensation."
This should and must be reversed and then introduced into the
15. The State, by refusing to offer up any
compensation, clearly shows no remorse for the lives it has devastated
and/or destroyed. It only intends to do the bare minimum after
having been found guilty by a court of law of human rights abuse.
The State would be quite happy to see me spend the rest of my
life in poverty.
26 August 2003