NHS nurses protst trangender worker
© Stock Image/GettyIn March, 26 nurses wrote to management saying that the transgender nurse 'has made no secret' of the fact that 'he has stopped taking female hormones and is trying to inseminate his female partner'
A HR manager at the hospital trust allegedly told nurses to 'be more inclusive'

NHS chiefs are facing landmark legal action after 26 female hospital nurses protested about being forced to share a women's changing room with a transgender colleague who is biologically male.

The women complained that the transgender nurse - who has not had gender reassignment surgery - had taken a 'keen interest' in female staff when they were getting undressed. They say they have found the situation 'intimidating and upsetting'.

In a formal complaint, the nurses say they were stunned after the 'sexually active' trans nurse admitted to trying for a baby with a female partner and had stopped taking female hormones.

But a human resources manager at the hospital trust allegedly said that the female nurses need to 'be more inclusive', 'broaden their mindset' and 'be educated and attend training'.

Six of the nurses are taking legal action at an employment tribunal against the NHS trust in the North East for alleged sexual harassment and sexual discrimination in what is thought to be the first case of its kind.

One of the nurses told The Mail on Sunday: 'We don't feel safe because we strip down to our underwear and [the individual] doesn't just stay by his locker. 'He walks around the changing room in his boxer shorts.'

Another nurse said she was 'close to tears' during one incident in the changing room.

She said: 'I was rummaging in my bag trying to find my lanyard and keys for the locker when a man's voice behind me said, 'Are you not getting changed yet?' 'I found my keys and opened my locker and I was asked again, 'Are you not getting changed yet?'.'

The woman, who was sexually abused as a child, has post-traumatic stress disorder and struggles to be alone around men. She said:
'He stood there, two metres away from me, with a scrub top on and with tight black boxer shorts with holes in them and asked a third time whether I was getting changed yet.

'Flight or fight mode kicked in but I felt glued to my seat, I could not move. 'My hands started to sweat. I was petrified and felt sick and began hyperventilating.'
In March, 26 nurses wrote to management saying that the transgender nurse 'has made no secret' of the fact that 'he has stopped taking female hormones and is trying to inseminate his female partner'.

They added: 'We do not consider it appropriate to have a sexually active biological male sharing our changing facilities.'

They did not receive a written response but say there was an 'impromptu meeting' at which an HR manager told the ward manager the female nurses 'need to compromise'. The HR manager told them to 'be more inclusive', 'broaden their mindset' and 'be educated and attend training', according to a second complaint letter sent by the nurses in April.

There has been controversy in the NHS during recent years over its provision of single-sex female wards and the safety of its patients.

National NHS staff policy allows its workforce to identify in the opposite gender and access single-sex facilities of their choosing, and that 'alternative arrangements must be provided' if this is deemed inappropriate.

The transgender nurse at the hospital has continued to be allowed access to the female changing room which is open plan and has no separate changing cubicles. The room is accessed by a key code given to staff.

A female nurse said:
'We work with a whole load of international nurses, some of whom have different cultural and religious beliefs, who are only allowed to strip down in front of their husbands.

'They've found this extremely difficult and they don't really want to come forward because they're frightened they're going to lose their jobs.

'One international nurse has told me that she wears a vest and uniform underneath her uniform, which is boiling for her, but it's to prevent this biological male from seeing things that she doesn't want him to see.'
She said colleagues have taken to changing in the disabled toilet on the ward to avoid the trans nurse and that they fear their discomfort could impact on patient safety.
'We are not allowed to go home in our uniforms for infection control purposes, but because we're so nervous about this person walking in people have decided to maybe chance it.

'We're also dealing with patients who are already stressed coming in, and then to be presented with a nurse who is super stressed with anxiety, being in tears, it's not good at all.'
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting the nurses' legal claim, accused the NHS trust of 'putting a dangerous and discredited transgender ideology ahead of staff and patient safety, not to mention biological reality.
'We are concerned that what the nurses are experiencing is just the tip of the iceberg. How many more people across the NHS, in other professions and in public places, are having to go through similar experiences?

'Instead of giving in to the climate of fear surrounding speaking out against transgender ideology, these nurses are now refusing to be silenced and are taking a courageous stand. We will support them at every step.'
A spokesperson for NHS Trust said it was 'committed to providing an inclusive and respectful work environment for all employees'.

They added: 'We are aware of recent issues raised and are taking these very seriously.

'We would like to assure our employees and the wider community that as soon as these issues were brought to our attention, we initiated meetings to fully understand the needs and concerns of the staff members under our resolution policy.

'We recognise that this is a hugely sensitive issue and as well as taking into consideration the feedback and concerns raised by the team, we are working to adhere to legal requirements and best practices.

'We are committed to working together with all parties to find a solution that respects the rights and dignity of all individuals while maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and fairness.

'As our internal processes continue it would not be appropriate to comment in any further detail at this stage.'