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  • Therapists Against Conversion Therapy and Transphobia (TACTT)

TACTT response to UKCP’s latest statement on ‘gender-critical’ views (Update 12/12/23)

This follow up letter to the UKCP was posted on TACTT's website on December 13th 2023. Reposted with permission. The UKCP have now issued a response, which you can read on their website. TACTT will reply to this and we will also make that reply available here.

It is now one month since TACTT published our open letter to UKCP about their guidance regarding so-called ‘gender-critical’ views, which has been signed by over 900 people. We are still waiting for UKCP to respond to our concerns.

TACTT was dismayed to see the statement published on Monday 11th December regarding ‘Litigation pursued by James Esses – Gender critical beliefs’, which raises fresh concerns about the protection of trans clients as well as trans psychotherapists, counsellors and students training in UKCP-accredited institutions.

We now ask UKCP to respond to these additional concerns and remind UKCP of our original concerns about their guidance regarding so-called ‘gender-critical’ views, published on 2nd November 2023, to which we are still waiting for an answer.

In our open letter dated 12th November 2023, we expressed concern that:

1.UKCP’s statement contradicts its own Code of Ethics and Professional Practice.

2.UKCP is a signatory to the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy and thus bound to an ethical stance on working with gender diversity, which is contravened by its statement.

3.It is unethical for any practitioner to offer therapy to trans and gender-expansive people when they do not have adequate knowledge and indeed hold an agenda that favours one outcome over another.

4.There is a lack of clarity on how UKCP members should act on the information provided in its statement.

5.The statement replicates the public hyperfocus on trans children and young people, which excludes their voices whilst contributing to public hysteria. It is dangerous rhetoric to position conversations about gender alongside questions of public ‘safety’.

6.UKCP positions psychotherapists and counsellors as medical gatekeepers, when practitioners outside of gender services hold no such power. It is vital that the therapist follows the client’s lead and explores what they want to talk about, without being influenced by the therapist’s own agenda or beliefs. This statement risks generating panic amongst practitioners and clients by suggesting that it is the therapist’s place to sanction a client’s access to gender-affirming care.

7.UKCP misrepresents the trans experience by focussing predominantly on gender dysphoria and medical intervention, as though these are the only experiences of being trans in the world. Trans people may seek therapy for all the reasons anyone seeks therapy, without transition being a focal point at all.

8. UKCP is proposing that a ‘gender-critical’ therapist could reasonably, ethically, and legally be able to offer psychotherapeutic support to trans, non-binary and gender-questioning people. We see nothing but risk of harm in this approach.

Following UKCP's publication of its latest statement on 11th December 2023, TACTT would now like to highlight additional concerns and emphasis that:

9.UKCP misrepresents trans-affirmative therapy, of which exploration has always been a feature. We argue that affirmative therapy means the therapist supports the client’s right to define themselves.

10.The splitting of ‘exploratory therapy’ from affirmative therapy is now being used to justify a form of therapy based on so-called ‘gender-critical’ beliefs. To position therapists with ‘gender-critical’ beliefs as the main proponents of ‘exploratory therapy’ risks harm to trans and gender-questioning clients.

11.UKCP fails to acknowledge that the holding of ‘gender-critical’ beliefs does not give licence to a person to harm or discriminate against trans, non-binary and gender-questioning people.

12.By failing to make clear that gender reassignment is also a protected characteristic under the Equality Act (2010), UKCP’s latest statement leaves trans, non-binary and gender-questioning psychotherapists and counsellors, including those in UKCP-accredited training organisations, vulnerable to harm and discrimination.

We ended our open letter by stating that those of us who are UKCP members or training in UKCP-accredited organisations are starting to question our place in the organisation. UKCP is fast losing the trust of its members who work in a trans-affirmative way.

We urge UKCP to respond to the concerns raised in our original letter and the additional points raised in this update.

We want our clients to know that access to safe, ethical, affirmative therapy is possible, and we will continue to advocate for their autonomy. We encourage anyone accessing therapy to seek help with their gender to seek clarification on their therapist’s position on trans-affirmative therapy, and be sure that they feel comfortable and safe before proceeding.

We are grateful to the 900+ professionals who have signed our open letter. Please continue to share our updates and encourage others to sign. We will continue to use this platform to update and expand our commentary on UKCP’s actions.

Yours sincerely,

Therapists Against Conversion Therapy and Transphobia (TACTT)


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