Munroe Bergdorf has called on the UK government to “reform and support” the transgender health system on Transgender Day of Visibility.
The model and activist was answering questions from big names in the entertainment world such as Joe Lycett, Nicola Coughlan and Jonathan Van Ness in Rolling Stone UK‘s new digital cover story.
Lycett’s question asked about the “one bit of legislation or change” Bergdorf would like to see the government implement to improve the lives of the trans community in the UK, and she pointed towards the improvement of healthcare.
“There’s so many things that this government needs to do. Aside from leaving the House of Commons,” Bergdorf said. “We have a government that is not recognizing trans people’s humanity, and that comes into healthcare, welfare, access to housing, education, tackling mental health issues, hate crime, and homelessness.
“The list is really endless, but really the priority has to be healthcare. And that doesn’t just start and stop at hormones. That starts with support and understanding what trans people go through. Recognising that there are so many hurdles before you even begin the process. And supporting people in being able to live the life that they want to live.
“So I would love the government to stop gatekeeping our healthcare and to reform and support the transgender healthcare system, which is currently in free fall and massively underfunded and overwhelmed. So that would be my priority if I was to be Prime Minister.”
Meanwhile, Van Ness asked Bergdorf about the top three pieces of misinformation about trans people that she wanted people to know were false.
“It really starts with the myth that children are having surgeries. Trans kids are not having surgeries anyway,” Bergdorf began. “But you know who is having surgeries? Intersex kids against their will. So, if we are going to be talking about kids having surgeries against their will and bodily autonomy of infants, then let’s talk about what is happening to intersex infants against their will. I think that’s really, really important.
“Number two, the myth or misunderstanding that we don’t already have access to women-only spaces with regards to transwomen. We have had access to women-only spaces since 2010, under the UK Equality Act, which entitles us to use the spaces that are in alignment with our gender identity. There’s so much concern and sensationalism around transwomen having access to women-only spaces, But there’s no statistics to suggest that it is a widespread problem, that is in any way going to put cisgender women at a disadvantage or in danger. So, I think that that’s a myth that we all need to be debunking because we have had access to these spaces and nothing has happened.
“I think third, is that trans people are different to anybody else. You know, it’s really important that we stop seeing trans people as “other”. We are just people, just like everybody else. We are people that deserve employment, people that deserve love, people that deserve to live out their dreams and do whatever they want in the world. We have hopes, dreams, aspirations, talents, just like everybody else. We deserve to see that represented in every single aspect of society. “
She continued: “In every industry, not just the entertainment industry or music industry or film industry, or fashion industry, which have been very progressive and supportive of trans people. But WHY ARE we not seeing trans people in many other industries? I think that we need to stop seeing transness as a media issue and as something that is a real life thing and real life people that are just trying to live their lives in the best way that they know how.”