Female nurses vow to keep fighting over hospital trans policy: Won't be 'ignored' or 'threatened' (2024)

A group of nurses in the United Kingdom who filed a lawsuit against a National Health Service hospital trust over its transgender employee policy are speaking out publicly for the first time to demand the NHS protect female staff.

"I think to go public was just to try and gain some attention really from the government to try and look at the policies around this because there's nothing in place at the minute to protect women. It's literally a self-made situation where any person can just [identify] as a woman and go in," Darlington Memorial nurse Lisa Lockey told Fox News Digital.

"It's been ongoing for a long time. We've been ignored," she continued. "And it's kind of been — swept aside, I think, in the hope that we were going to just forget about it and shut up."

The group of nurses, who shared their story with the media anonymously in May, filed a suit against the County Durham and Darlington Memorial Hospital Trust that month. In the suit, they allege they have been harassed by the biological male colleague who often walks around the female changing room undressed and stares at and initiates conversations with colleagues as they are dressing.

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County Durham and Darlington Memorial Hospital Trust allows employees to use changing rooms or restrooms that align with their gender identity, the suit claims. The nurses say this has led to several uncomfortable encounters with this individual.

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One of the nurses in the suit who had been sexually assaulted as a child described how on one occasion, she was allegedly approached by the transgender colleague while alone in the dressing room and was repeatedly asked to undress while the colleague was only wearing boxer shorts with genitalia visible.

Lockey said a Muslim colleague had also been terrified to encounter the biological male colleague in the changing area while she was half-dressed.

"She knew nothing about this situation going on. Nobody told any of us. And, so she stood there in a bra and she hears this man's voice, and she said she couldn't move. She was actually just frozen in panic, holding her hands across her chest and didn't know what to do. She was just so horrified. And I felt really, really upset about that because, you know, these girls, you know, they've come across to help, you know, to work [here] and I just thought that was really, really wrong," she continued.

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Female nurses vow to keep fighting over hospital trans policy: Won't be 'ignored' or 'threatened' (1)

The trans worker also wears men's clothes, has facial hair and has told colleagues about trying to get a female girlfriend pregnant, the suit claims.

After raising concerns about having to get undressed around the colleague to management last year, over two dozen female nurses at Darlington Memorial Hospital signed a letter to the hospital system in April, saying they were uncomfortable over the issue.

Shortly afterward, the suit alleges the head of HR lectured a manager that the female nurses needed to be more "inclusive" and to get "educated" on the issue.

Darlington Memorial nurse Bethany Hutchison, who also spoke with Fox News Digital, called HR's reaction to their concerns "absolutely insulting."

She said the policies have left female colleagues fearful and having to find alternative places to change their clothes, which they are required to do at least once per shift.

"I think people are so terrified. I mean, a lot of the Muslim colleagues work in theaters [operating rooms], and people have expressed that they've been silenced. People have been brought in for disciplinaries, if they've mentioned anything about the changing room situation. So they are threatened. And it's really governed by fear in theaters particularly," she said.

Female nurses vow to keep fighting over hospital trans policy: Won't be 'ignored' or 'threatened' (2)

The eight nurses in the suit say the hospital has prioritized the single transgender employee over the female staff. They are suing the NHS trust on the basis of sexual harassment and sex discrimination.

Since they've come out publicly, Lockey and Hutchison say they've been "overwhelmed" with letters and notes of support. "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling even posted about their story under her X account.

"We're thrilled," Lockey said, while holding up a stack of cards they received in the mail. Both nurses said they've been touched by these messages because, in their workplace, they've been made to feel like "bigots" and "bullies" for standing up for their rights.

"All we want to do is just defend our right to a female-only space. We don't want to attack trans people. We know that there's a lot of really good trans people out there that wouldn't mean any harm to anybody," Lockey continued.

"And ultimately, we want the policy changed. It's about policy change and safety," Hutchison added.

The County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said the following in a press release:

"As a Trust, we are committed to providing safe and compassionate, inclusive and respectful care for our patients and visitors as well as an inclusive and respectful work environment for all colleagues. We would like to assure our patients and communities that the well-being and support of all colleagues involved in this, is of the utmost importance to us. At this stage the claims being made need to be fully investigated and reviewed. This work continues through our internal processes. Alternative arrangements and adjustments have been put in place."

"We recognize that this is a hugely sensitive issue and as well as taking into consideration the feedback and concerns raised, we need to adhere to legal requirements and best practices. We are committed to working together with all parties to find a constructive solution that respects the rights and dignity of all individuals while maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and fairness. As this is now an active legal case, we hope you can understand that it is not appropriate for the Trust to share further detail at this stage."

Original article source: Female nurses vow to keep fighting over hospital trans policy: Won't be 'ignored' or 'threatened'

Female nurses vow to keep fighting over hospital trans policy: Won't be 'ignored' or 'threatened' (2024)

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