British Politics is filled with Transphobes with an Agenda

Living in Britain as a trans person you always feel perplexed as to why British politics and our parliament have so many fervent transphobes. Using made up narratives to push for the erosion of trans rights sometimes and wrongly in the name of feminism.

Britain isn’t uniquely transphobic outside of the political arena, it’s probably very similar to a lot of developed countries when it comes to trans citizens. Not to make light of violent transphobia in these countries and in Britain.

I and many have dealt with transphobia, yes, but most people I’ve come across, have never had strong opinions of trans people, maybe some ignorant ideas but never to the level of meticulous hate that has come from the media and conservative party and the government.

I remember back in September 2020, last year when I was in a march for trans right, it was a huge turnout, glowing media representation of the march. I saw so many allies and rounds of applause from strangers from the street but if you consume the information being proclaimed by the government and mainstream media you would think otherwise.

On the opposite, picture this, pre-Covid at pride 2018. A group of anti trans campaigners from Get the L Out, managed to hand out trans exclusionary propaganda in the form of leaflets at the front of pride and no one batted an eyelid, they laid on the ground and were permitted to lead the march, it was a disgusting display. Literally only condemn until after the fact. This shows the duality here in Britain.

There’s definitely a change and it’s slow. We will however look at the culture of transphobia in Britain

The number of hate crimes have went up and trans people because of that are afraid to leave their homes for any reason. This is in the UK. Showing there’s definitely a lack of humanity for people who are gender variant and exist outside of cis society here. Globally 2020 was also the deadliest year on record since records began. I should also note that a lot of trans violence and fatal death are sometimes not recorded especially in the global south due to misgendering in reports and by family members (chosen family members sometimes excluded).

First, putting into perspective how much politics have become a shit-show we first have to start with the very gross and sadly successful lobbying groups and so called feminists that have sprung up from the gender recognition act reforms. Fair play for Women, Women’s Place, LGB Alliance to name a few, there a good amount out there. They have been instrumental in pushing exclusively against any trans legislation. They have also been plat-formed many times the media and even a good amount of times in the last decade in the government when it came to the subject of transness. Especially during the consultation of the much contested gender recognition act reforms.

We have even moved to the point where transphobes want to trans people to come into harms way, explicitly with bigot and TERF Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull aka Posie Parker, saying she wants cis men to come into women’s public toilets with guns, a call to arms directing the violence at transwomen. Many reputable media giants such as the BBC and Sky News have also given her a platform. Parker has also appeared on a video with a white supremacists that has advocated for a white ethno state.

If you follow the toilet debates you will rightfully be baffled, because they make a big stink (pardon the pun) about transwomen being predatory men in bathrooms ironically cis men with guns doesn’t alarm them the same way.

This isn’t in a vacuum, recently the conservative party of started updated a consultation (from October 2020) on changes to public toilets, wanting to clamp down on all gender bathrooms and to protect cis women, This during a pandemic where the government has flagrantly played with lives in a shambolic response to Covid-19

Also rumored to be using the 2010 equality acts pedantically because it doesn’t say gender identity but gender reassignment. The act is however used by all trans people no matter transition or lack thereof.

You can if your a British resident or citizen, or live in Britain respond via email to the consultation, created by the lovely people at WeExist have created a template. (Date of article: January/February 2020)

Anti trans campaigners have been emboldened countless times in Britain. It was only a few years back when campaigners/bigots have plastered childishly penis shaped stickers in public toilets and spaces pointing out pre-op transwomen genitals and saying women don’t have penises in London. Stickers were also found in Liverpool prompting the mayor to condemn them rightfully. And found in Edinburgh back in 2018. Also twisting the icon Stonewall ad to push their message, in a parody seen in public spaces.

Recently The Women’s Human Right Campaign (Women’s Declaration) for an inquiry into trans policy and results from the GRA which is a great opportunity for trans citizens and allies to submit evidence for the the women and equalities select committee. Has responded.

The trans exclusionary feminist group have asked MPs to scrapped the act altogether. Citing the UN convention on eliminating discrimination against women and girl.

saying wrongly “transgenderism” is based around the stereotyped ideas of what means to be a man or woman and therefore go against the tenets of the convention. Mainly the prejudices that formulate ideas of inferiority or superiority of the sexes/genders which is a totally different thing then what they are citing.

Trans people have a variety forms of expression and if they do perform gender “stereotypically” it’s not more or less different than the expression of cis people. Cis privilege blurs and naturalizes cis people’s expression but puts a spotlight on trans people.

The Act itself, issued in 2004 currently has only issued a few thousand gender certificate to trans men and women to change the gender marker, compared to the higher number of trans people in British society and exclude under 18s. Also excluding non-binary people. Myself, friends, and the London trans community have to continuously out ourselves when we show our passports.

The reforms to make it more accessible and less invasive have been scrapped by the Tory government instead opting to lowering the cost and putting it online, the minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss stated. After two years of consulting, this is truly unacceptable, the inquiry has had mass support for actual change. But the Tory government has basically said that trans supportive charities skewed the inquiry for advertising and streamlining the inquiry so that trans people and allies could respond which is truly baffling. Their still citizens that are voicing support for it. It was a horrendous conclusion to something that would massively help trans people and create no harm to the wider population. It’s annoying to even state that.

Our current floundering Prime Minister Boris Johnson has continuously made his stance clear about trans rights talking about us, he has alluded to the reactionary response of protecting “female sex” only spaces like refuges and apparently toilets (which transwomen and femmes have always used) in a leaked document.

Now, transwomen have never been a danger to cis women, it’s a projection used by cis people to naturalize abuse and take away the social aspects of abuse to maintain gender roles.

Their line of thinking is anyone assigned male is naturally more abusive but this falls apart under inspection when it comes to transwomen and femmes who deal with abuse from cis men and at time cis women.

To only bring up abuse when transwomen are brought up is absolutely just projection and a made up narrative. To the point where they’ll take the few cases and paint a broad brush because the narrative is so far fetch.

Disgusting MP and bigot and that’s not a hyperbole as he has a track record, David Davies called transwomen, men and tweeted about pre-op transwomen genitals. His tweets are abhorrent and he has also said some disgusting casual homophobia regarding same gender marriage.

“I think most parents would prefer their children not to be gay, knowing most parents want grandchildren if nothing else.”

Most conservatives probably have similar views, maybe casual views, however because they rarely call out transphobia except in rare incidences. I say this because conservative government itself has let the rot of transphobia affect all aspects of society for, over a decade since they’ve been in power.

One councilor in the Labour party, Dave Ward has came out as a transphobe in tweets discussing asexuality and aromanticism. Sending a link to one reply, to LGB alliance then staunchly coming out supporting the transphobic and ironically homophobic LGB Alliance. Saying it’s not a hate group. (a group that revels in exclusion that has been founded in 2019). LGB alliance. The co-founder Malcom Clark has even said that school shouldn’t have LGBT+ clubs because of so called predatory gay teachers.

It’s not just in England but also in places such as Scotland where Justice Minister has sent in an amendment to the Hate Crime and Public Order bill which is allowing for criticism of trans people, singling out and excluding trans people.

There is said to be a culture of transphobia amongst the SNP party, the ruling party in Scotland. Teddy Hope a Non binary former SNP officer of it’s LGBT wing “Out for Indy” and a campaigner has left the party after getting abused at a branch meeting and the party not doing anything after it was reported. They have been quoted saying

“I think the SNP is now one of the core hubs of transphobia in Scotland”

There was significant walkouts from the SNP by young people which is the current party in Scotland.

This has prompted party leader Nicola Sturgeon to address the matter in a impromptu video. Echoing that there’s zero tolerance for transphobia which is of course welcomed but still in the same breath allowing for debate on mild and modest trans civil rights demands such as the Gender Recognition reform.

Now sacked from the frontbench, partly for transphobia MP Joanna Cherry along with other MPs have a history of transphobia, recently Cherry has condemned twitter for banning a hate gender critical page (TERF) for going against it’s policies. Also calling out pride goers because they held up signs anti-TERFs (trans exclusionary radical feminists) branding them as misogynists.

The Labour party which is the liberal and center left party of Britain has even hosted anti-trans activist where no trans people were in attendance. And to put that into perspective this was during the time when Jeremy Corbyn was the leader of the party, and probably one of the most left leaning leader in current times.

Being dubbed as a “transphobia row” Labour MP Rosie Duffield has been criticized for purposefully excluding trans men and non binary people when she said only women have cervixes, then doubling down on her comments. First liking a tweet by problematic presenter Piers Morgan commented “Do you mean women?” to a CNN post on the American Cancer Society where they said “Individuals with a Cervix…”

She has since apologized however she has said the criticism, was a communist pile-on in a twitter reply.

Months later has came out in defense of JK Rowling after Harry Potter stars rightfully condemn her. This was after the backlash Rowling faced for coming out with transphobic talking points. Rosie has also made micro aggression infused comments like when she said queer kids are being forced into being trans and it’s erasing LGB kids. This along with other many factors that have made staff resign from her team, for holding anti trans beliefs.

The idea that British conservative culture pushes is one of trans identity being sexual fetish and that trans kids don’t exist or have been groomed by society to be trans, totally forgetting they exist and that trans adults were once kids. The 2021 census now has a question after legal sex that’s about gender identity but excludes anyone under 16 for some reason further pushing the narrative.

Boris Johnson on the other hand has said recently regarding the GRA reforms.

“In terms of changing what is on your birth certificate, you will still need to have proper medical approval.

“There will be big moves on safe spaces and women-only toilets and and a total ban on ‘gay cure’ therapies.”

“And you’re not going to be able to march in and find a hippie quack doctor who is willing to say you’re a woman. That’s not going to happen.”

Like anything outside of affirming healthcare is unacceptable and even from that quote alone you can see that he doesn’t care trans citizens and making there lives harder is a goal. With only the underfunded and thinly stretched Gender Identity Clinic, which is apart of the NHS. Which has been labelled the under 18’s services inadequate by The Care Quality Commission (CQC) after an inspection in 2020.

And few specialty Private clinics like GenderGP and London Transgender clinic which are great but can be hard for those that don’t have the funds. We all know that medical transition is a costly industry.

In Britain, GPs are very hostile to trans patient and the NHS gender clinic is underfunded and even with a small number compared to the actual population, the referral are too greater in number to handle.

Recently rights have been eroded regarding anyone under 18. Losing autonomy and the right to puberty blockers and hormone therapy due to a court case ruling. The ruling has come to the conclusion of adding further bureaucracy.

Making trans kids now having to appeal to the courts for a ‘best interest order” on top of getting approval from doctors like previously done. This is a betrayal of the human rights of trans kids. Puberty blockers have been been showed to be a safe form of transition. And as we saw with GRA, when bureaucracy is added only a few people are approved or deemed worthy.

The case has brought detransitioner Keira Bell into the spotlight who pushed for this case after a Susan Evans psychiatric nurse that worked in gender services; in the now infamous “Bell vs. Tavistock”

Tavistock and Portman being a under 18’s gender identity clinic. Citing that she was pushed by medical staff as a teen to transition when she gave consent at 16 for blockers and only got surgeries in her 20s. Her story has inevitably brought in the long standing stereotype that trans kids are coerced into medical transition and that they are unknowing of their identity at that age. Her story feels like it has been pushed more than any when detransitioners are a small community because the reality is that most trans people don’t regret transition.

The NHS gender identity clinic is the midst of repealing.

The BBC which is the state media of the UK, is deeply problematic when addressing transness. Like I said before, along with other mainstream media outlets, have a history of plat-forming bigots. But a BBC boss took it one step further, that trans affirming comments or issues should also be broadcasted/published with anti trans views for supposed balance. A move that had Ofcom calling it inappropriate.

They have also given JK Rowling’s, transphobic essay “TERF WARS” that came out in the height of the black lives matter and black trans movement, an award (The 2020 Russell Prize for best writing)whilst also comparing it to the racist Enoch Powell.

I feel like that speaks for itself. The BBC has also banned employees for in the newsroom from attending pride and black lives matter marches in a new guideline though not explicitly, sources have said that for impartiality they aren’t able to attend because of the supposed “controversy” of trans rights and black lives, surrounding the marches.

The charity Mermaids which supports young trans people has investigated a number of articles on the topic of trans identity, noticing a large uptick of content, many being negative and written by tabloids.

Personality, model and trans black activist Munroe Bergdorf; first appearing in a L'Oreal ad, had a mob of trolls and critics terminate her contract from the beauty campaign.

Back in 2017, for saying in a post that all white people privileged from racism and have been the most oppressive race. The post was about infamous white supremacist Charlottesville march.

From the first point of the controversy, she gained a fervent crowd of transphobes abusing her even though she sincerely apologized for the post.

In todays world it’s something that wouldn’t be uncontroversial especially now with the surge of support for Black Lives Matter. She had that follow her and her being a black transwomen shouldn’t be separated from the calculated abuse she has dealt with.

Upsetting news has resurfaces. Recently she has since left social media namely Twitter and has called for the company to do something about the abuse on the platform that target marginalized people like trans people.

She was also fired from being Childline’s first LGBT+ campaigner for the children’s charity NSPCC. It was after public pressure from transphobes. The charity cited they let her go because of what she said in public records and on twitter, but didn’t elaborate, they did however feel bad for letting her go. 150 employees of NSPCC did however sign a letter in support and condemnation of the company for her treatment.

That story does have a happy ending when L'Oreal sent support for black lives matter they were condemn almost swiftly for the way they treated Bergdorf, three years ago, they apologized and gave her a job in the company as a diversity board in a consultancy role. And donated to Mermaid children charity and black pride. What she faced however is telling.

Sadly when all of this information is sent out to the cis majority public, who are less likely to know of any trans people and therefore are more likely to be susceptible to misinformation and slander about us. It paints a grim present with even the smallest demands by civil rights by trans people rejected by gas lighting politicians.

This is the political football that Britain has created of trans people rights.

It’s not all bad new because things are slowly changing, with the USA biggest proponent of transphobia (Donald Trump) gone and a wave of support both stateside and on the ground in the UK.

But our fight isn’t done and we should, especially those who privilege fight the tide of transphobia in Britain and the world.

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Sky Gabriel

I'm a black Transwoman who loves pop culture and loves to explore the modern history too. I'm a trans intersectional feminist and studying International Studies