An Afghanistan veteran has returned their war medal to prime minister Boris Johnson in “disgust” at the way trans people are treated by the Conservative government.
The unnamed trans veteran, whose letter to Johnson was shared online on 11 April, came out as trans in the last five years and has “felt increasingly disgusted by my treatment by your government, your party and the NHS”.
“I am no longer proud to have served a country that cares so little for people such as myself when we need help,” the letter says.
The trans veteran cites long NHS waiting times for trans healthcare – the waiting time for a first appointment at an NHS gender clinic is several years – as one reason they lost faith in the Tory promise of “a property-owning democracy”.
“I have lost the chance to own my own home, because instead of using my savings for a mortgage deposit I have had to spend tens of thousands of pounds funding my own healthcare,” the letter continues. “This is a health inequality which existed long before the COVID-19 pandemic and has worsened since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.”
Additionally, the letter points out that Johnson’s predecessor as Tory prime minister, Theresa May, promised to reform gender recognition laws in the UK.
Despite a huge public consultation on potential updates to the 2004 Gender Recognition Act – the law that adult trans men and women can use to gain legal recognition of their gender – confirming strong public support for “streamlining and demedicalising” the process of changing legal gender, equalities minister Liz Truss scrapped plans for reform in September 2020.
“I was told by your predecessor, Theresa May MP, that the Gender Recognition Act 2004 would be reformed,” the letter says. “Your government broke this promise.”
It continues: “I refuse to subject myself to a system where strangers can tell me, without oversight, my own input, or even meeting me, what my legal gender is.
“For a party which talks the talk on liberty, the freedoms of the individual and rolling back red tape, your decision not to remove this imposition upon my legal identity is rank hypocrisy.
“I feel no loyalty to a government, or country, that treats transgender people as you have.”