Royal College of Nursing: Fair care for trans and non-binary people

The Royal College of Nursing has recently updated its advice for nursing and health care professionals when treating patients who identify as trans and non-binary. You can read it here: RCN Fair Care for Trans and Non-Binary People

I will be talking to a journalist from a nursing magazine about this tomorrow (5th January). If you have any comments that you would like me to pass on, please let me know.


  1. Dorothy Smith

    Jane, the sooner this guidance is rolled out across the NHS, the better.
    I can vouch that some nurses, male and female, and different ethnicities, were pretty insulting when I was admitted to a men’s urgent care ward as a patient registerer as male but with female underwear, female accessories, footwear and shaved body.
    To be fair, after I said I was having care from Charing Cross Gender Clinic, which they checked out and confirmed quite quickly, they eased up. However some of them took a long time to get the message, which didn’t help my state of mind.

  2. Jane Hamlin Post author

    Hi Dorothy,
    On page 4 of this document we are reminded that in 2016 the House of Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee reported, “Trans people encounter significant problems in using general NHS services, due to the attitude of some clinicians and other staff who lack knowledge and understanding – and in some cases are prejudiced. The NHS is failing to ensure zero tolerance of transphobic behaviour.” Things have improved, I hope. (In my area, Somerset, I was invited to be lay member and chair of the Equality Steering Group of the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.) We do need to keep an eye on it, though.

  3. Dorothy Smith

    Hi Jane, yes, I saw that in the document. I don’t want to be controversial, but please can you pass this comment on to the journalist tomorrow?
    “I think nurses in our hospitals do a fantastic job generally. However, they have to make clinical judgements quickly and decisively. Some nurses have their prejudices, yes, which need to be addressed. But on top of that, individual patients’ sensitivities aren’t top priority when there’s a whole ward to deal with, and trans and non-binary patients are a case in point.”

  4. Dorothy Smith

    I’m trying to say, I can see both sides of the argument. Being treated insensitively by ignorant ward staff isn’t a matter of life and death, let’s be honest, but if we’re campaigning for better treatment for trans and non-binary people, let’s get it right. Over and out!

      1. Jane Hamlin Post author

        The journalist was particularly interested to know how nurse can find out what patients’ preferred pronouns are – but this is actually dealt with quite clearly in the document.
        He was also curious about the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them. I told him about your experiences (though obviously no names were mentioned) and about getting the gender right when dealing with patients on the phone. As you know this was an issue we pushed last year, and I recently had an email conversation with a young trans man who is regularly misgendered in phone calls. The article is for ‘Nursing Standard’ which is a magazine for Royal College of Nursing members.

        1. Dorothy Smith

          Thanks Jane, I appreciate the update. I hope the article finds a receptive audience.
          This next bit is relevant to say here as it definitely applies to hospital staff. I find as a trans person I have to think about my tolerance of people misgendering me and being aggressive.
          When I saw myself as a heterosexual cisgender white male, banter was tolerable: as I’m trying to be authentically non binary these days, I find it’s more complicated.
          This week a woman in my new church Zoom group said “that’s better!” when I logged in and changed my name on my box from Dorothy to Charlie. It was my first visit to that meeting, though I’ve changed from D to C enough times in other church Zoom meetings.
          I didn’t call her out: the person hosting knows about me. If the same woman says something next time, I shall mention it to them. I don’t want to escalate it, but I’m not going to be a pushover either.
          Per ardua ad astra!
          Dorothy xx

          1. Jane Hamlin Post author

            I forgot to mention earlier, Dorothy, that I did discuss with the journalists the needs of non-binary people as well as the needs of so many of our members who cannot, or do not wish, to transition but still need to manage their gender dysphoria as well as they can, in whatever way they can.
            Jane xx.

  5. Davinia 7765

    Last New Year, my partner and myself were in Blackpool, and she had an accident and I had to get her to hospital. I was as Davinia . The staff in A& E were brilliant, even though my partner referred to me in my make name ! However, there does seem to be a lot of transgender people in Blackpool.