Trans youth protestors with their signs

(Public Domain)

‘We are not pawns for politics’: Trans kids occupy NHS building to protest puberty blocker ban

The group identifies itself as Trans Kids Deserve Better.

 

Tricia Crimmins

Tech

Trans youth climbed a National Health Services (NHS) building in London, U.K., over the weekend to protest the lack of gender-affirming care and civil protections they receive in England.

This afternoon, the group, which identifies itself as Trans Kids Deserve Better, came down from the ledge after 76 hours of protest.

The group’s protest is in response to puberty blockers being banned in the U.K. at the end of May. The medications pause the effects of puberty in young patients and are utilized by trans youth to combat gender dysphoria, or the distress of one’s gender identity not matching their sex-related physical characteristics.

Trans Kids Deserve Better have three demands: Equal access to gender-affirming healthcare, protections against misgendering and deadnaming, and to no longer be used as “political pawns” or “a spectacle for the benefit of politics or the press.”

Transitions by kids under 18 have been a hot-button issue in the U.K.

“We hope our actions will encourage others to fight for a voice, and the healthcare and dignity that we are currently denied,” the group wrote in an Instagram caption about the start of the protest on Saturday.

On Saturday afternoon, two youth activists—who haven’t shared their names publicly—climbed up onto the NHS Waterloo building’s front ledge using a ladder and hung letters spelling out “TRANS KIDS DESERVE BETTER” on the building’s windows and a sign that said “we are not pawns for your politics.”

They were asked to get down from the ledge by security and police but refused, staying on the ledge over the weekend and into Tuesday.

“We’re under slept and covered in grime but we can all feel the anger,” one of the activists, who is 17, said, according to a press release from the group. “We’ve been unheard for too long. We aren’t coming down.”

As of yesterday, the group had grown to seven youth activists and is experiencing an influx of support: Many in support of the trans and wider LGBTQ community visited the NHS building where the activists are stationed to cheer them on.

“Trans children have been occupying NHS England over the weekend to demand equal access to healthcare and care with dignity,” Sara Daud Omar tweeted, alongside photos she took of the protestors and the building’s address. “Support them.”

Another X user shared a video of the group doing Chappell Roan’s “Hot To Go” dance.

Even more have supported the group remotely using the group’s hashtag. Radio host Jesse Thorn posted a photo of the protestors and said he was so moved by their collective action that he started crying.

“I’m so proud of these trans kids in England that I just started crying at my desk,” Thorn tweeted. “We can’t make politics out of these kids’ health care. Let people be who they are. Let kids thrive.”

The group has also raised nearly £7,000 (approximately $8,875), which is more than six times the activists’ goal, via digital donations.

This afternoon, Trans Kids Deserve Better came down from the building ledge to a crowd, but not before giving a speech to supporters assembled below.

“We’ve been up here on the ledge for 76 hours, one step away from injury, and we’ve had so many people telling us to stay safe,” one of the activists told the crowd, according to What The Trans?, a trans-focused U.K. media outlet. “But for us, this is safer than the NHS.”

The protestors then descended from the ledge as police stood by.


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