OFN Response to Age UK Factsheet 16 Trans Issues and Later Life (July 23)
The OFN calls for a more informed and evidence-based approach to transgender issues in later life.

The Older Feminist Network is a well-established UK organisation, the members of which have lifetimes of experience to contribute to the feminist perspective on issues which directly or indirectly affect older women, who are often invisible or overlooked by society.


Older Feminists, particularly those with a medical or scientific background, are concerned about ‘Factsheet’ 16 entitled Trans Issues and later Life indexed in the section ‘Health’. The document cannot be called a Factsheet as it contains material which is not factual. You attest in your introduction that you take no position on Transgender. However, you subscribe to gender ideology, against currently available scientific fact. This can be harmful to older people who encounter carers or relatives with gender dysphoria and who rely on this document to support them.



The document states ‘sex assigned by the medical profession at birth’ This information is outdated by several decades. Sex is determined by obvious external genitalia. DNA testing is done when (in extremely rare circumstances) external genitalia are ambiguous. As we can see from the female foetuses aborted all over the world in favour of male foetuses, sex is detectable in utero. Scientific research clearly demonstrates that sex is determined at the moment of fertilisation. Therefore, this should state ’sex is confirmed at birth’.


‘Factsheet’ 16 refers to ‘True gender’ to describe the gender a person identifies with.


The word gender is used here interchangeably with sex. Gender is a stereotyped behaviour of the sexes, and it is to be opposed, certainly in medical fact sheets. OHCHR (Office of the Commission of Human Rights) at the United Nations clearly lays out the evidence against stereotyping.


‘Factsheet’ 16 reinforces stereotyping by using the term ‘true gender’. Gender Dysphoria is the medical term for the condition where there is a mismatch between gender presentation and biological sex. Dysphoria means a state of unease or dissatisfaction. This document takes the definition of lay people over the medical profession. Prioritising lay opinion in the face of medical evidence can arguably lead to catastrophic consequences.



Previously authoritative institutions now lack confidence in their own ability to lead. Therefore, they are prepared to look to the transgender community an authoritative source. This, in turn, erodes an understanding of sex-based rights (J. Williams (2020) CIVITAS report)


The Tavistock, the clinic with a gender-affirming approach, was closed down.


The Government has stated that children should be taught that they cannot change sex. The perspective of gender ideology is supported by unconnected facts, such as simple organisms can change sex. All mammals are binary and no mammal can change sex. It is unclear where Age UK sourced the information provided, and we suggest you review authoritative scientific and medical published resources.


Protected Characteristics

Older women are frequent users of health and social care services in which dignity, privacy and safety are important. Residents in care homes are a particularly vulnerable group as Age UK has reported. The Alzheimer Society has found that trans people who have transitioned may not remember that they have been through this process. Equally, women in care homes with dementia or other forms of memory loss may not understand why a person she perceives as male may be allowed to assist with intimate personal care.


The Age UK document states,‘’ in very restricted circumstances, it is lawful for an organisation providing single-sex services to provide a different service’. Research in 2021 revealed conflicting policies in different NHS trusts. Most *NHS trusts recognise sex as a protected characteristic and uphold the policy that people are entitled to be accommodated in single-sex wards, to request a same-sex practitioner and a chaperone. In view of this, the term ’very restricted circumstances’ is clearly incorrect and has caused confusion with some NHS trusts prioritising the right of ‘self-identified’ Transgender people to choose the single-sex ward they prefer, encroaching on sex-based rights (Equality Act 2010).


We urge Age UK, a respected charity organisation which aims to ‘help older people to make the most of later life’, to critically review Factsheet 16, particularly in view of the closure of the Tavistock clinic, and the continued and well-publicised legal cases opposing gender identity theory and to uphold single sex rights particularly in hospital wards, care homes and domestic care.


We do not consider that Age UK has carried out due diligence in accordance with the statement in small print at the end of the ‘Factsheet’. Viz: ‘We aim to ensure that the information is as up to date and accurate as possible’. Please urgently review and correct the ‘Factsheet’.



Gender stereotyping | OHCHR


Girls & Women Deserve Single-Sex Sports | National Review


Williams J. (2020) The Corrosive Impact of Transgender Ideology (Civitas)

Trans issues and later life (ageuk.org.uk)

Age UK Response

Thank you for your email providing feedback about our factsheet 16, Trans issues and later life. We are always happy to receive and consider any feedback offered. Regarding this particular factsheet, I can confirm that it is currently under review and will be amended. The planned changes to the factsheet will address the areas which you have highlighted.

–Age UK



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