Amendment 184ZBA

Part of Health and Care Bill - Report (4th Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 1:45 pm on 16th March 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Hunt of Bethnal Green Baroness Hunt of Bethnal Green Crossbench 1:45 pm, 16th March 2022

My Lords, I will be very brief because it is extraordinarily late. I have just a few short observations. First, as a lesbian woman in this House I have spent many years reading Hansard and watching the House’s proceedings, and hearing lesbians being referred to in far less positive terms than they are today. It is quite a contrast to hear from others in this Chamber such concern about lesbian women. I want to put it on record that many lesbians are entirely supportive of the current status quo in relation to the provision for trans people in single-sex and other accommodation. This suggestion that lesbians are opposed to it is unhelpful. In the spirit of detoxifying the debate, it is important that we stick to the information and facts that are available.

Secondly, there is a review being undertaken. There are many reviews in the NHS but I have heard about this review more times on more platforms, via more mediums, than any other thing that seems to be going on in the NHS at the moment, despite the fact that we are in the middle of a global pandemic. I have contributed to that review. I have written and I am sure that the noble Baroness, Lady Nicholson, has done the same. We are more than capable of lobbying and influencing different institutions to put our view forward. I am curious about the consequences of that review and it will be interesting to see what comes next.

My other observation is that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Etherton, is a very good authority on the Equality Act and I trust him completely. I do not think his analysis is subjective or a hot take. He does know his stuff.

Finally, as the daughter of a mother who trained to be a nurse and then a midwife, and who retired after 40 years as a professor of nursing and midwifery and trained hundreds and hundreds of nurses and midwives, I have absolute confidence in the professionalism of NHS staff to manage tricky issues when they occur. They do not just occur in relation to the 0.002% of the population who may or may not be trans. Those come up in all sorts of areas and I trust the NHS to handle those situations when they do.

I am 42 and expect that the entirety of my life peerage, which I imagine and hope is another 40 years, will contain a lot of these discussions. These discussions will continue, and I hope we can have them in a manner that is respectful towards each other and our different perspectives.