I would have liked to continue with my thoughts on JKR and her latest writing about “trans issues and safe spaces” as she puts it, however there have been some really comprehensive and meaningful responses in the last few days that say everything I would want to say and as is mentioned in one of these every trans person is scrambling to add their rebuttal of the misinformation that JKR is spreading. In particular I would mention Katy Montgomerie’s Addressing the Claims in JK Rowling’s Justification for Transphobia (posted on Twitter on 19th June) and Gemma stone’s Response to JK Rowling’s Transphobic rant also on ( Twitter 18th June ). JKR has published again in response and maintains her position.
What I think is important though is to contact your local MP and the Minister for Equality, Liz Truss, directly so that the pressure can be kept up on the government to think through there proposed legislation to protect safe spaces for Cis women and not just hope that they might read something that will change their minds.
Once a year there is a Trans day of Visibility on 31st March. Until this recent explosion of media coverage re safe spaces and trans rights this seemed to me to enough, coupled with engaging in events in Pride month which feel relevant. I no longer feel that to be true as the way in which Trans people are currently being portrayed is in terms of being predators, people you should be fearful of who are intent on causing grief and threatening Ci women’s spaces and “hard won” rights.
A new hashtag has come up on Twitter called #TransPeopleAreRealPeople where people are encouraged to describe themselves and what they do in an everyday sense. “For example I am in my thirties, I am an engineer and I have three children……” or “ I am a former lawyer in my seventies too busy to retire, have a loving family, good friends,, found exercise late in life, enjoy yoga,, music, motorsport, one time therapist and actor….”. Not surprisingly from what I have seen so far the responses to people being open about their lives has prompted a substantial number of transphobic, hostile comments.
This seems to me really important to get the message across that ,as the hashtag says, we are real people leading real lives. so the more that people can see we are just ordinary people leading ordinary lives the better. There are always “bad apples” in any section of society and the way in which the media and the Gender Critical community cherry pick instances to tarnish the whole Trans community is wrong.
At the weekend there was a Trans rights rally in Central London attended by thousands, not militant activists, ordinary trans people with cis gender supporters yet the media did not cover it at all! There was no mention on the BBC News or in any of the papers save for the Evening Standard and not surprisingly Pink News. There was no violence it was a peaceful protest. There were reporters present but the event in itself did not warrant coverage although you can imagine the coverage it would have got should there have been civil unrest!
Of course the Gender Critical Terfs have cited this event on social media again to highlight how the Trans lobby for is attacking women’s rights.
I have always been cautious about being defined as being Trans. That is not the defining description of me, it is part of me. I am also a parent having brought up four children, I am a business woman who has, so far, been able to negotiate my way through from male to female and continue working. My work colleagues and partners carry on seeking my advice, opinions in the same way as they did before I transitioned. I am still me. All I wanted to be was treated no differently and not as “Name….you know she is trans” You don’t refer to a Cisgender person and say “ she is a woman”.
I have come to the view that it has become necessary for the time being to be visible, not just for one day of the year or at specific events. Many people “go stealth” in an effort to lead their lives as free from prejudice and hostility as they can which I find quite understandable.
However, if trans people hide then trans rights will be diminished and more trans people will be put at risk afraid to live their normal lives.