Marco was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and admitted to hospital. Marco required advocacy support as he felt that he didn't need to be in hospital and he wanted help in appealing his section.

Lorna, a POhWER advocate, first contacted Marco by telephone and during their call he disclosed that he is transgender. At the time, Marco was transitioning from female to male and had already disclosed this information to his GP. Lorna asked Marco if he had a preferred name that he would like to be called and what pronouns he would like her to use. Marco confirmed that he would like to be called Marco with he/him pronouns. Lorna also asked Marco if he consented to her disclosing this information to other professionals (legislation under the Gender Recognition Act requires professionals to obtain this consent before disclosing and sharing this personal information.) Marco consented and was happy for her to speak with other professionals and request that they use his preferred name and pronouns. She also asked Marco if he was happy for staff to use his preferred name and pronouns whilst on the ward in front of other peers, as Marco was currently on a female ward. Marco confirmed that he was happy for peers to know his preferred name and pronouns.

Lorna contacted the Mental Health Administrator to advise that Marco would like to appeal his section. She also arranged for the Mental Health Administrator to send over a list of solicitors to Marco so that he could be represented at his tribunal. Lorna also called the ward to ensure that Marco received the list of solicitors.

Lorna spoke to a staff member on the ward and disclosed Marco’s wishes and feelings in regards to his gender identity, his preferred name and pronouns. This staff member then proceeded to tell Lorna that she must be talking about a different patient. Lorna explained the conversation that she had with Marco and that he identified as male and wanted his preferred name and pronouns used by staff members and so, for this reason, she would be referring to the patient as he had requested. The staff member then proceeded to get Marco on the telephone. Lorna heard the staff member call out for Marco using his birth name.

Lorna spoke with Marco and told him that she had heard how the staff member had addressed him. She asked how he felt about the situation. Marco said that he was not happy about it. Marco explained that he wanted everyone to use his preferred name and pronouns. Lorna explained to Marco that he is protected under the Equality Act, which prohibits any discrimination, harassment and victimisation due to his gender identity. The act protects him from being unfairly treated by promoting a fair and more equal society. Lorna asked Marco if he would like her to raise this issue with the hospital manager and service manager. Marco instructed Lorna to raise the issue and to make a general complaint on his behalf. Lorna did this and also raised a safeguarding concern in regards to the staff member’s actions.

The hospital are looking into the issues Marco encountered in the hospital and have said that improvements will be made. The safeguarding team contacted Lorna to let her know that they were investigating her concern as part of a Section 42 enquiry. A Section 42 enquiry must take place if there is reason to believe that abuse or neglect is taking place or is at risk of taking place, and the local authority believes that an enquiry is needed to help it to decide what action to take to support and protect the person in question.

Marco was transferred to another hospital not long after their call. He thanked Lorna for her help and support.

Lorna helped Marco to uphold his rights to protection from discrimination in respect of his human rights and freedoms and helped to keep him safe by raising a safeguarding concern.