Transgender child and bedroom allowance

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  • #286099
    snicholls
    Participant

    Hi all
    I assumed I would be able to find a recent post on this subject but the most recent post is from 2020!
    We have a family where they currently have a 2 bed need as it is a mother with 2 girls, aged 9 and 14.
    The 14 year old is currently transitioning (we have no further details of exactly what that means) to being a boy, and the mother is asking if she will be entitled to a three bedroom property on these grounds.
    Does anyone have any wisdom they can impart on what the situation with regard to the bedroom allowance is in this scenario?
    Many thanks
    Sharon Nicholls

    #286105
    Andy Thurman
    Keymaster

    Hi,
    As legal reassignment can only occur once reaching the age of 18, there is no additional room that can be allowed.

    #286124
    John Boxall
    Participant

    An acquaintance of mine is a barrister and the joint author of a legal textbook on Transgender law.

    In the past she has offered to take up cases like this for free so if your claimant would like to get in touch I can introduce her

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

    #286129
    John Boxall
    Participant

    I do remember something like this coming up in the past & it was decided to deal with it via a DHP

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

    #286138
    garethbannister
    Participant

    The reasons boys and girls over 10 are not expected to share are surely down to biology. Since nothing has changed in that regard I can’t see a reason they cant share.

    #286140
    John Boxall
    Participant

    Hum, we are all entitled to our opinions on these matters the question might be however what is the wisest way of expressing them in connection with our employment.

    Also worth bearing in mind that there may be a potentially distressed 9 year old

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

    #286145
    garethbannister
    Participant

    That sounds like a veiled threat. It that the atmosphere we are having discussions on these boards under? I was answering the question asked. It’s a genuine question and we ought to feel free to give our thoughts on it without fear of consequences.

    The LHA room sharing rules ARE based on biology; see the Housing Act 1985, Section 325.

    We know nothing of the mental state of the 9 year old, and nothing said here could affect that. I don’t see how this question can be discussed, or a decision made on it, without reference to the legislatory basis of the LHA rules. Should we refuse to discuss it in fear of the consequences to our employment? The assessor should refuse to answer the claimant?

    #286147
    Andy Thurman
    Keymaster

    The Housing Act makes a singular reference to “two persons of opposite sexes” (then discounts children under 10) – I would not say this is heavily reliant on biology but more how gender is currently defined in law. (The Law Society website includes articles on the need for a reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.)

    What is also very true currently (as I have already posted) is that there is no LEGAL reason why the children in the OP “cannot share a bedroom”. It was also true, of course, that until the Courts intervened, there was no legal reason why a couple could not share a room if needed on medical grounds!

    In discounting children under 10, the Act (& HB regs) effectively recognises that, as children reach puberty, gender becomes a more important matter.

    Gender reassignment (legally) is not possible before the age of 18 but does this mean those who will do so later are not biologically different before that?

    It would seem harsh not to allow a DHP – possibly needing to sensitively get a little more detail.

    #286151
    garethbannister
    Participant

    A single reference is all that is needed when using an unambiguous term like “opposite sexes”. I think using the term ‘gender’ muddies the waters on what is a straightforward matter of biology.

    The GRA contains provisions that make it clear that as persons biological sex has not changed despite their being recognised as the opposite sex. There’s an interesting article on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website suggesting a change to the Equality Act 2010, to make it clear that ‘sex’ means biological sex.

    The court confirmed that there WAS a legal reason why a couple could not share a bedroom due to disability – because denying this amounted to unlawful discrimination on the grounds of disability!

    Could discounting children under 10, the Act (& HB regs) not be a recognition of the sexual development/interest that happens in puberty?

    The legality of gender reassignment does mean that there has been no modification of sexual characteristics. Children are often if not usually psychologically different; does this amount to an inability to share a room? If so, when and why?

    Of course a DHP could be applied for.

    #286152
    Andy Thurman
    Keymaster

    “I think using the term ‘gender’ muddies the waters on what is a straightforward matter of biology.”??

    The phrase “opposite sex” is a reference to gender.

    I’m really not sure how sexuality can be described as straightforward – regarding the children under 10, yes, that is exactly my point – at some point, soon after that age, the issue of gender identity, due to puberty, will be of far greater importance.

    So, for a non-binary 14 year old, it is not an over-simplification to suggest that they (or their ‘binary’ sibling) would not feel as awkward sharing as 2 binary teenagers (1 male, 1 female) that the law would currently describe as “of the opposite sex”.

    To put it a little bluntly, a teenager’s sense of identity regarding sexuality cannot simply be seen as “are there dangly bits or not?”. There are other factors (including biological ones e.g. hormone levels) that define that.

    My point regarding the case law was that it is quite presumptuous to assume the current law will not be similarly found to be discriminatory (but on the grounds of gender rather than disability) – I am not saying it definitely would but that an understanding of gender recognition etc different from that in 1985 means there must be a serious question mark over a simple definition of the “opposite” sex.

    I don’t pretend to know all the biology or exactly if/how legislation should be changed but I don’t think we should overlook/ignore the complexities of non-binary gender just because it would be less straight forward to deal with.

    **Edited to add – Let’s not forget that the law did not even recognise same sex relationships for nearly 20 years after the Housing Act 1985. Just for context in the evolution of the law regarding diversity and discrimination.

    • This reply was modified 4 days, 18 hours ago by Andy Thurman.
    #286154
    garethbannister
    Participant

    “I think using the term ‘gender’ muddies the waters on what is a straightforward matter of biology.”??

    Yes. The term “gender” is often used to refer the characteristics/behaviours/activities/expectations, of women, men, girls and boys, that are socially constructed. Biological sex is obviously separate from this. Male and female cannot be tied to or defined by any particular set of behaviours. Unless you think they can?

    From the WHO: ‘Gender interacts with but is different from sex, which refers to the different biological and physiological characteristics of females, males and intersex persons, such as chromosomes, hormones and reproductive organs’

    https://www.who.int/health-topics/gender#tab=tab_1

    The phrase “opposite sex” is a reference to sex. The LHA rules are based on sex.

    I said nothing about sexuality. I said the matter of a person’s biological sex is straightforward. Children may feel awkward sharing with each other for many reasons. Why would regarding themselves as non-binary (or any gender related identity?) be especially relevant to the sharing of a room with someone of the same biological sex?

    This discussion started with a question over the application of the LHA rate in the context of ‘The 14 year old is currently transitioning (we have no further details of exactly what that means) to being a boy’. That’s all we know about the situation.

    Laws may change in future but not necessarily in line with your, or indeed my, political beliefs. This is a complex and often contentious issue, which is by no means settled.

    #286173
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    Just to confirm that discussion on hbinfo is free and there are lots of disputes about all sorts of areas but it is never personal. Of course not and the site has been around for a quarter of a century.

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