The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has spoken of the need to improve services for trans people.
Speaking ahead of the world’s biggest trans celebration, the Sparkle Weekend, as it returns once again to Greater Manchester, Andy said:
“Hosting the fantastic Sparkle Weekend year-on-year is testament to our region’s progressive outlook and our commitment to equality and inclusivity. This weekend is all about having the confidence to be yourself and I hope everyone taking part has a brilliant time.
“But I want to take the opportunity to raise some serious issues. Many trans people still face hate and abuse on a daily basis, and access to specialist services for trans people in Greater Manchester is sporadic and inconsistent. Many people are facing long waiting times and need to travel far from home. This was highlighted in the LGBT Foundation’s recent Transforming Outcomes report which set out clear recommendations for making improvements.
“A real need has been identified, and I want to make a firm commitment that, alongside the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, we will work with the trans community to tackle the health and social inequalities they face.”
The ‘Transforming Outcomes’ review into the needs of the trans community reported that despite trans people having higher levels of educational attainment, they experience disproportionate levels of unemployment, homelessness and domestic abuse.
Trans people also face barriers when trying to access mainstream public services. Health needs in particular are often hidden. As a result, some trans people avoid accessing services at all, or face long waiting times when trying to get help from specialists.
The Sparkle Weekend is the ultimate celebration of all things trans, and thousands are expected to descend on the gay village to have fun and enjoy all the stalls and events on offer.
Underpinning the fun and entertainment, however, is a determination to challenge the stigma associated with being trans, and raise awareness of the issues trans people face on a daily basis.
Earlier this month, Andy helped launch the LGBT Foundation Action Plan which details the actions and priorities for improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Greater Manchester over the next 5 years.