New LGBT+ strategy covering sex work, IVF, trans healthcare and homelessness to be unveiled by Government

Ministers are working on a comprehensive new strategy to “advance” the rights of LGBT+ people in the country, i understands.

The cross-government plan will cover issues like sex work, IVF, veterans and homelessness – as well as specific healthcare for LGBT+ communities – largely across England and Wales.

It is due to be announced next month by Equalities Minister Mike Freer, and will be fully launched at the global LGBT conference being hosted in the UK later this year.

But it is not clear whether the plan will include new Government funding or be supported through existing departmental budgets.

“The big part of the portfolio that Liz [Truss] has asked me to do is […] to work across government,” Mr Freer told i.

“Over the next few weeks, we’ll be talking about a major domestic piece of work, which covers things like homelessness and sex work, HIV, sexual health IVF.

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He said a specific priority will be to improve NHS gender services to prevent transgender people from opting out and seeking help elsewhere.

The recently-published Cass Review into services for transgender children, commissioned by NHS England in 2020, found the current model is not sustainable.

More data collection is needed to accurately track healthcare pathways and experiences of children who seek the service and clinicians must ensure young people with gender dysphoria receive the “same standards of clinical care, assessment and treatment” as any other, the report said.

Dr Hilary Cass, who led the report, called for a consensus about the appropriate clinical response as well as more clinics offering such services.

The Government has come under fire previously after being accused of making little progress on pledges made in a past LGBT+ action plan laid out under Theresa May in 2018.

Ministers have been accused of dragging their heels on plans to ban conversion therapy, and of abandoning previous plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who holds a second job as minister for women and equalities, said last year that there had been no updates on the commitments made by the Tories in 2018 “because there’s a new Government in place under the leadership of Boris Johnson.”

Asked if the action plan had been scrapped, she told MPs: “That was sat out by the previous administration. I have laid out what our priorities are.”