A new group offering support and information to transgender, transsexual, androgynous, genderqueer, bigender and intersex islanders in Jersey is starting up.
Trans* Jersey is the idea of the Jersey novelist, Vic Tanner Davy, and grew from his own experience of transitioning in Jersey and the need to respond to the States of Jersey’s consultation paper on sex discrimination legislation, the next phase in the island’s anti-discrimination laws.
(Note: “Trans*” with an asterisk encompasses transsexual, transgender, androgynous, intersex, genderqueer and bigender people, whereas “trans” only refers to transgender and transssexual people.)
The transgender population in Jersey is very small. It is estimated that about 2-5% of any given population suffers from some degree of gender dysphoria and, of them, only 1 in 12,000 natal males and 1 in 34,000 natal females will transition, although these numbers are increasing. This equates to a population in Jersey of about 2,000 to 5,000 people who might consider themselves androgynous, genderqueer or bigender and only a handful of transgender/transsexual people (i.e. those who have undergone gender reassignment), of which Mr Davy is one.
Because of the size of the population affected by trans* issues, there is very little support on the island for trans* individuals. Anyone wishing to transition has to go to the UK for the specialist treatment required. Trans* Jersey seeks to bridge that gap by providing information about the process of transitioning for trans* islanders and their healthcare professionals.
“At the moment, Jersey’s trans* population has no means to come together to share ideas about measures that directly affect them. As well as providing support for our community, Trans* Jersey is a way for us to get together online, through a blog, email and Twitter, to discuss issues that are important to us, like the States’ consultation paper on the next phase of the anti-discrimination law,” explains Mr Davy. “Anti-discrimination legislation is the first issue that Trans* Jersey is tackling but there are likely to be more coming up. Equal marriage, which affects trans* people too, is one such issue that is pressing. The UK is currently undertaking a review of its Equality Act and Gender Recognition Act in response to trans* organisations in the UK who have found a number of problems with the legislation. Trans* Jersey is working with GIRES, the UK charity, to try to ensure that Jersey’s new legislation doesn’t repeat the mistakes that the UK are currently seeking to put right.”
Trans* Jersey would like to hear from any trans* islanders before 31 May 2014 when the States of Jersey consultation closes. If you are interested in getting involved or learning more about Trans* Jersey, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the blog www.transjersey.org or follow @transjersey on Twitter. Trans* Jersey is aware that not all transgender individuals wish to be open about their gender status and therefore all correspondence will be treated in the strictest confidence.