Theme: Opposing grave Human Rights Violations on the basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.
I have not posted much because I am massively disillusioned with trans activism in the UK which refuses to understand how far the UK has moved and concern that stories are sometimes used as a point rather than in compassion for the victim. This UN video, however, is a landmark and is something that everybody should watch. It reinforces how lucky we are in the UK – I wish people would remember that because, I believe, until we do, we cannot really understand how bad the situation is on other countries.
Warning: this is a speech which is emotionally powerful and some may find deeply upsetting. There are no disturbing images – just truth about brutality in many countries.
There’s a full version of the even (85 minutes) here
It’s easy to blame all prejudice encountered on others but talking to ordinary people I have realised that they may have a very different attitude to one transsexual person than to another: for instance I know people who call some MTFs she/her and others he/him depending on the behaviour of the individual. That’s not transphobia – that’s a reaction to somebody who comes across as either male or transsexual, not as a woman (or vv for FTMs).
The Queer Youth Network has made a formal complaint to the Press Complaints Commission alleging that The Sun’s reporting of Kim Petras was transphobic in describing her gender confirmation surgery as “drastic body mutilation”. There is a good write up on the Lesbian and Gay Foundation website so there is no point me repeating it – just pop over there.
Thomas Hammarberg has again spoken out against transphobia.
Council of Europe member states should do more to stop transphobia and discrimination against transgender people. The situation of transgender persons has long been ignored and neglected, although the problems they face are very real and often specific to this group alone. They experience a high degree of discrimination and intolerance in all fields of life, as well as outright violence. Transgender persons have been the victims of brutal hate crimes, including murder, in some European countries”
Thomas Hammarberg is the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights. Some time ago he released another strongly worded statement against transphobia and discrimination against trans people, reported here as “Discrimination Against Transgender Persons Must No Longer Be Tolerated”.
He also spoke out against the UK’s Gender Recognition Act’s discriminatory treatment of marrried transitioners:
In some countries there is a legal obligation that a transgender person who is legally married to his or her different-sex partner has to divorce before his or her new gender can be recognised,” he said, citing the problems this causes when the couple can not remarry if their country does not allow same-sex marriage.
Hammerberg has also released a position paper which I have not yet had time to read. The best coverage of the story is by LezGetReal.
Supposedly in the UK Trevor Philips as Head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission is supposed to speak out for those who have undergone gender reassignment (by statute that is not trangender people more widely as some seem to believe). When did you last hear him speak out on trans rights? Has he ever challenged the Government on trans rights has Hammarberg has? Have the EHRC produced any papers like that Hammarberg has just published? Never. No. And No. It’s a good job we are part of Europe because neither the Labour Government nor the Equality and Human Rights Commission seems to really care about addressing the issues facing those people who undergo gender reassignment.
(By which you would be correct in assessing that I am rather fed up with those in the UK who are supposedly the advocates of transitioners.)
I struggle to follow the implications of this case – I’d suggest you read about it on Feministe instead. Essentially one Dwight Less has been convicted in the USA of the manslaughter of a transsexual woman, Lateisha Green and that the killing was a hate crime.
There’s a lot of fuss about the provisions in the new Equality Bill relating to “gender reassignment”. As ever, many commentators are overlooking that the disability provisions in equality legislation offer greater protections – for instance in relation to expecting reasonable adjustments. There’s even a document on the EHRC website from the Equal Opportunities Commission which states the Disability Discrimination Act applies to GID, and this should be carried forwards to the new Equality Bill.
Faith, Homophobia, Transphobia and Human Rights is the name of a TUC-sponsored conference to discuss homophobia and transphobia in faith communities taking place on Saturday 16th May. There’s more about it on the Morning Star site.
Personally I have reservations about this. In some quarters there is entrenched homophobia and transphobia within some (but not most) faith communities. There is, however, a problem within the LGBT community that quite unacceptable anti-religous views are tolerated. Both sides of the divide need to grow up, not just one side.