Ryland’s story – and why it’s important

This is a beautiful, humbling and happy story of a family accepting and embracing the fact that their son, Ryland, is transgender, enabling him to transition at the age of 5. Like they say, they signed up for the parenting lark with no strings attached. They say they wanted to share their story to help the world become a “more loving and accepting place for Ryland and the LGBTQ community.”

The video has gone viral with over 5 million page views since its release two weeks ago. It’s where I saw it, though, that I wanted to point out.

That’s right. The official Twitter account of one of the mainstream political parties in the UK. Now, I’m not seeking any sort of praise for the party because it’s not something that needs to be praised. This is who we are, an organisation that wants people to be free from discrimination and accepted as they are. The reason for sharing this is so that any young person out there struggling with their gender identity or sexuality, or any family supporting a transgender person will be reassured that they have a right to be accepted as they are.

If you want advice and support, the LGBT+ Lib Dems website has links to a number of helplines and sites. In Scotland, the Equality Network includes the Scottish Transgender Alliance.

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53 Comments

  • Brenda Lana Smith 4th Jun '14 - 10:08pm

    Meanwhile the United Kingdom coalition government shamefully continues to condone discrimination of trans folk by failing to legislatively overrule the legal right on its own British Overseas Territories to discriminate against trans folk with impunity…

    Brenda Lana Smith R.af D.
    Founder of “Stand up for Gender-Variant People’s Rights on Bermuda…”

  • Richard Dean 4th Jun '14 - 11:18pm

    I’d say it’s rather important to let this family be. Which is not what happens if LDV use the family to sing the praises of LDV. I’d also say it might be regarded as a huge invasion of Ryland’s privacy that his parents have chosen to publicize his condition in this way. If I was Ryland I might even sue.

  • Not sure I agree that this is “a beautiful, humbling and happy story “. No matter how I look at this I can’t agree with a child as young as 4 being given a transgender label. They look a nice family, but for me they have had bad advice.

  • Brenda Lana Smith 5th Jun '14 - 7:54am

    US – Profound Portraits Of Young Agender Individuals Challenge The Male/Female Identity… [2014-06-03 HuffPost] http://huff.to/1mNyXS2

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 5th Jun '14 - 8:07am

    Richard, this is a family that clearly listens to what their child is telling them. As a parent myself, I am very aware of what I post about my child online and will only do it with explicit permission.

    Ryland seemed happy at the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast where this film was shown.

    Malc, are you a specialist in transgender issues? If so, please let us know how you are qualified to make such a pronouncement. It’s clear that the family has taken specialist advice from the video. You might like to look at some of the Equality Network stuff I linked to which makes it clear that current thinking is to go for earlier transition. It’s very stressful to not be recognised as the gender you identify as so why put kids through it unnecessarily?

  • Brenda Lana Smith 5th Jun '14 - 8:26am

    [IMG]http://i62.tinypic.com/1zp0fnb.jpg[/IMG]

    But best not on British Overseas Territories where we still can be openly discriminated against with impunity…

  • Richard Dean 5th Jun '14 - 8:32am

    I agree with Malc. This is a story about the parents not the child. The child is saying that she prefers to conform to what the adults around say is “boy”. At age 14 she may change her mind. There’s plenty of stories like that.

  • Brenda Lana Smith 5th Jun '14 - 8:39am

    Apologies… apparently LDV doesn’t do the like of [IMG]http://i62.tinypic.com/1zp0fnb.jpg[/IMG]… ergo:

    “We are in a place now where more and more trans people want to come forward and say, ‘This is who I am.’ — Laverne Cox

    “But best not on British Overseas Territories where we still can be openly discriminated against with impunity…” — Brenda Lana Smith R.af D.
    Founder of “Stand up for Gender-Variant People’s Rights on Bermuda…”

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 5th Jun '14 - 9:00am

    Richard, I think it does someone a great disrespect not to use the pronouns that they would choose to use for themselves.

  • Brenda Lana Smith 5th Jun '14 - 9:11am

    ((((((( Caron )))))))

  • Simon McGrath 5th Jun '14 - 10:18am

    Lucky Ryland for having such a loving and supportive family.
    But is a child of 5 really capable of making a decision to share this sensitive information with the world? Caron would you have allowed your daughter to have made such a decision at that age?

  • Graham Martin-Royle 5th Jun '14 - 10:21am

    I wish this family and their son all the best.

  • I agree with Simon. I wonder if 14 year old Ryland will cringe at this splashing of private stuff on the Internet. I’m sorry but I just think it’s intrusive.

  • I also agree with Helen.

  • Philip Rolle 5th Jun '14 - 10:42am

    I admire the family. This will encourage others and diminish prejudice.

    Believing that a trans person is just going through a “phase” can be extremely damaging, even at this young age.

  • “Malc, are you a specialist in transgender issues? If so, please let us know how you are qualified to make such a pronouncement. ”

    Aren’t we allowed to express our views now, unless we are all ‘experts’. ?

  • Caron Lindsey

    “Malc, are you a specialist in transgender issues?”

    Most certainly not, but I think this child was 4 years old when given the transgender label, is anyone a specialist in 4 year old transgender issues and who decides these people are experts? Me I just think it’s far to young to label a child and then put them in videos for all the world to see. I don’t doubt they are a loving family and I certainly take your point about “earlier transition”, but for me this is much to early.

  • Malcolm Todd 5th Jun '14 - 11:12am

    I’m with Helen Tedcastle and Simon McGrath here. I think the exposure of this child to this sort of publicity is highly questionable and it’s remarkable that anyone can seriously suggest that a child of 5 can be giving anything like informed consent to have such deeply personal matters made a matter of permanent public record and promoted for essentially political purposes.
    This is not really about the rights of transgender people or societal acceptance; and certainly it does nothing to question repressive and conformist gender stereotyping. (Is it not okay for young girls to want short hair and to play with “boys'” toys unless they “identify” as boys and make a permanent decision that they are boys? What sort of message does thatsend?)

  • daft ha'p'orth 5th Jun '14 - 11:49am

    @Helen Tedcastle
    Ideally, I suppose young Ryland would be able to go through his youth with whichever gender identity he chooses, and should he feel more comfortable at a later stage assuming a feminine gender identity, it would harm nobody if he were to adopt the female pronoun at some latter stage.

    @Malcolm Todd
    Yeah, the publicity aspect is possibly unfortunate in that it may impact on Ryland’s future decision-making, but the episode will rapidly fade from public memory either way and I have the impression that Ryland’s parents would not be unsupportive of further developments.

    Our urge to see Ryland as a now-and-forever member of Group A or Group B is strange, given that a proportion of us, even as adults, cannot view ourselves as utterly representative members of a gender identity club. Gender, as they say, is a spectrum.

    I don’t think there’s anything to feel uncomfortable about in Ryland living life as a young boy as it suits him to do so, nor would there be anything disturbing about Ryland or another child in similar circumstances deciding that he would prefer to live life as a young girl. The disturbing bit, to me, is the idea that a shift in gender identity is news. Also that gender identity is so central to our thinking and actions that we are able to seriously entertain the possibility that a child may ask to shift gender identity because he/she likes the perks better, not because it rings false – it doesn’t – but because it tells us something about the way gender may influence our treatment of children.

  • @Caron – “current thinking is to go for earlier transition.”
    This one comment, sums up what is wrong about this and hence why we should proceed with caution, our real knowledge of transgender issues is both very limited and relatively short, hence much thinking is based on current research interest and fashion rather than evidence.
    For a recent example of how wrong ‘experts’ can be in their “current thinking” we only need to look at ‘recovered’ memories of childhood sexual abuse …

    What Ryland and other transgender cases tell us is that gender has both a mental and physical attribute and that these are to some extent independent of each other.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 5th Jun '14 - 12:30pm

    I think the idea is that the parents want the world that Ryland grows up in to be more accepting of LGBT people, and they feel they are contributing to that by sharing their story.

    Simon, if a specialist advised me in that same circumstance to do the same as this family has done, then I would. My child’s health and happiness is the most important thing to me.

    On the “what would 14 year old Ryland think?” the video can simply be removed. A few years back, a family put up a wonderful, beautiful video of their son’s home birth. It was marvellously done. They have since taken it down from the internet and it can’t be found.

  • daft ha'p'orth 5th Jun '14 - 1:22pm

    @Caron Lindsay
    I am pretty sure that it would be very hard to remove this video from the internet entirely. Many people will have saved copies and of course the family don’t have copyright over any third party work that mentions this video anyway, so they cannot remove it if they try. I imagine your mate’s video didn’t go viral and end up all over the international press.

    I’m slightly wierded out by the video in that it does suggest that they felt that a change in environment, occupations and clothing went along with a declared change in gender identity rather than preceding it. It squicked me out slightly that it would ring alarm bells for a little girl to wish to dress up as Spider-Man, wear a tie, want to play soccer and so on (yes, I get there were the ‘why did god make me like this’ discussions too). Additionally, the Diversity Breakfast thing doesn’t quite translate to the British cultural context. But this is a nice middle-class family in the USA, owners of a real-estate company, with preexisting ties with charities relating to deafness. It seems a perfectly natural progression from giving seminars discussing their child’s deafness to giving presentations about their child’s gender identity. No doubt it helps the individuals involved to feel that their action is validated, and sharing stories like this also helps to normalise discussion of gender identity in young children, so if they feel up to it, why not? This child is apparently happy and getting on well, which seems to be what matters most at this point.

    The Western world really needs to be more accepting and supportive of the idea that gender identity is a personal journey that may or may not terminate in a stable ‘M’ or ‘F’ conclusion, and that this journey needs to be accepted whatever the eventual conclusion, rather than the idea that gender identity is a binary ‘M’ or ‘F’ and one or the other needs to be selected. There’s a relief in here that the solution has been identified, that the little girl who was not happy is a happy little boy. I think it’s somewhat valid to consider what if, for example, another little child went through this process who is not so simply defined (genderqueer, say). There’s not going to be a simple happy transition from archetype A to B there. Still the same action to be taken, though: acceptance and support.

  • Richard Dean 5th Jun '14 - 1:27pm

    People can copy things from the internet. People can remember. Especially all your neighbours, and the people in your home town. This is a severe misunderstanding and a severe intrusion of the privacy of a person who’s not old enough to make any such final decision. I would certainly expect it to be against the law, and would not be surprised if a child protection agency is considering whether the publication represents a form of child abuse.

  • daft ha'p'orth 5th Jun '14 - 1:40pm

    @Richard Dean
    In the US they do not have any tradition of disgust at publicity of whatever kind during early childhood. Hence the popularity of five-year-old beauty queens, pushy parents phenomenon and all the rest of it. I’m not sure whether it’s good or bad but it is very American to live your life right out in the open. But yes, it does mean that whatever Ryland does in future will be done against a backdrop of public awareness of his story.

  • “I think the idea is that the parents want the world that Ryland grows up in to be more accepting of LGBT people, and they feel they are contributing to that by sharing their story.”

    Yes we all want that of course. But I just wonder if the parents sacrificying Ryland’s right to privacy is an acceptable way to do that.

    I don’t think that ‘well it can be deleted if he objects when he is older’ is an acceptable defence for violating’s someone’s privacy, , when that person was an infant and unable to give informed consent.

  • Eddie Sammon 5th Jun '14 - 1:45pm

    I’m not against early intervention as long as it under the recommendations of experts, however I just think these decisions should be respected, rather than celebrated, which can lead to mistakes.

  • Liberal Neil 5th Jun '14 - 1:46pm

    I found this film very moving. having seen one of my son’s friends transition from being a boy to a girl during the last year or so it strikes a chord with me.

    I wonder if those arguing that the parents should not have allowed this publicity would take the same view if it was, for example, a young cancer survivor helping to raise funds for cancer research or similar?

    I think Caron makes fair point about evidence. It is reasonable to ask those challenging this message whether they are basing their responses just on ‘what they think’ or on the basis of the available research. It seems that the parents took the latter approach.

  • daft ha'p'orth 5th Jun '14 - 2:11pm

    @Liberal Neil
    Well, ain’t that exactly the point? People are embarrassed by/messed up about gender issues in a way that they are not embarrassed about cancer. People should not be embarrassed by/messed up about gender issues… but they are.

  • “I wonder if those arguing that the parents should not have allowed this publicity would take the same view if it was, for example, a young cancer survivor helping to raise funds for cancer research or similar?”

    But we’re always being told in the strongest possible terms about trans people’s need for privacy!

    Is it fair for the parents to be quite literally putting this child on stage at an age where in most contexts he would not be considered old enough to make an irrevocable decision about his future? Isn’t it quite possible that when he gets to his 20s he will feel the same need for privacy about his sexual history that many others do?

  • “People can copy things from the internet. People can remember.”

    What puzzles me is that Caron is actually well aware of that, because she recently emphasised the ease with which material can be downloaded and shared, and the difficulties of getting material taken offline, in an article on “revenge porn”:
    http://www.libdemvoice.org/revenge-porn-a-modern-legal-form-of-abuse-40109.html

  • Brenda Lana Smith 5th Jun '14 - 2:42pm

    Wot, No Comments re:

    Brenda Lana Smith 4th Jun ’14 – 10:08pm

    “Meanwhile the United Kingdom coalition government shamefully continues to condone discrimination of trans folk by failing to legislatively overrule the legal right on its own British Overseas Territories to discriminate against trans folk with impunity…”

    Brenda Lana Smith R.af D.
    Founder of “Stand up for Gender-Variant People’s Rights on Bermuda…”

    ?????

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 5th Jun '14 - 3:11pm

    Another point on the “should they have gone public” thing from chatting to a friend of mine. Once the family had decided that Ryland was going to transition, all it would take would be a disapproving neighbour to go to one of those sleazy supermarket tabloids and the story would be out there in not such a tasteful way. By publicising their story in their way, they’ve stopped that happening – even our Daily Fail was not disapproving.

    Any loving parent of a transgender child is likely to have been petrified by looking at the suicide rates and hate crime rates that transgender people face, even in this country which is one of the best places in the world to be trans. Does that make it more understandable that they have done something that they hope will make the world a better place to live for their son?

  • “Once the family had decided that Ryland was going to transition, all it would take would be a disapproving neighbour to go to one of those sleazy supermarket tabloids and the story would be out there in not such a tasteful way. By publicising their story in their way, they’ve stopped that happening – even our Daily Fail was not disapproving.”

    In what way has publishing this video prevented a tabloid newspaper from covering the story in any way it sees fit? On the contrary, it’s made it easier, should any tabloid want to do so.

  • Re: the original post, I think the fact that the party chose to recognise this is brilliant, and I think Caron’s friend’s point about the parents (and Ryland, for that matter) telling the world about it on their own terms is very important.

    For me, we are living in a time of transition (hopefully) to a much greater understanding and acceptance of LGBT individuals, communities and issues. I’m rather afraid the onus has to be on people generally not to support (or be construed to support) phobic, sneering or degrading narratives and behaviour, rather than on the LGBT individuals and communities themselves to conform to outside norms or what is deemed ‘acceptable’ (which all too often just boils down to an “I don’t have a problem with it, but don’t flaunt it” stance which is just as damaging and insidious).

  • daft ha'p'orth 5th Jun '14 - 3:41pm

    “All it would take would be a disapproving neighbour to go to one of those sleazy supermarket tabloids/By publicising their story in their way, they’ve stopped [tasteless stories] happening”
    First, the USA is not entirely without legal standards or privacy, so even aside from the fact that the situation isn’t so unique as to be Big News in itself, it would be very difficult to convince a news editor to run with an exposé story of ‘CITIZEN AGED SIX LABELED TRANSGENDER SHOCKER’. Comes under the heading of protected health information and can only be disclosed without consent under certain conditions. These do not include ‘because our readership would be interested’. Here, the family published the information themselves; anything the media do now is just commentary on previously published information, which is perfectly legal.

    Secondly, whilst the bulk of the coverage has been positive, some have taken the opportunity to share their prejudices and preconceptions; O’Reilly publicly refused to accept Ryland’s gender and condemned the parenting; another Fox news contributor suggested Ryland should be on antipsychotics; some nutter used the word ‘demons’ in a way I won’t repeat; probably there are other people who have said equally silly things. So it’s not all sunshine and roses, sadly.

  • John Grout

    “(which all too often just boils down to an “I don’t have a problem with it, but don’t flaunt it” stance which is just as damaging and insidious).”

    That is not what I – or others – are saying. I just think a child of 4 is to young to make this decision and I think the massive majority of parents would realise this.

  • Malc – Never said it was. :)

  • daft ha'p'orth 5th Jun '14 - 5:00pm

    Well, since my previous ended up in the modpile, suffice it to say:

    Caron, tabloids in the US wouldn’t print confidential medical information about minors without consent because it is against the law to do so. Nor is ‘otherwise unknown child transitions gender’ a huge story in itself.

    And whilst the majority of coverage has been positive, there have been some exceptions.

    And if that gets modded, then I really don’t know why…

  • Brenda Lana Smith 5th Jun '14 - 6:15pm

    Britain – Gender IdentityResearch and Education Society (GIRES) Articles related to gender variant youngsters
    http://www.gires.org.uk/recarticles.php

    And courtesy BLS’ archives:

    Britain – Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people’s experiences of distress… [2008-04-16 LCL&IS]
    http://lancashirecare.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/lgbt-risk-of-suicidal-behaviour-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-young-peoples-experiences-of-distress-resilience-ambivalence-and-self-destructive-behaviour/

    Britain – ‘Give my 14-year-old son sex change treatment on the NHS’, demands mother…[2009-11-23 Daily Mail]
    http://tinyurl.com/yew8nak

    Britain – 15-year-old M2F gender-variant boy: ‘How do I tell my parents I want for a sex change?’ [2009-09-30 The Sun]
    http://tinyurl.com/yd6wub3

    Britain – A girl on Friday, a boy by Monday… [2009-10-16 TES Magazine]
    http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6025192

    Britain – Boy, 12, has sex swap during summer holidays… [2009-09-18 Daily Mail]
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1214314/Boy-12-sex-swap-summer-holidays.html

    Britain – Parents Angry Over School Sex Change Assembly… [2009-09-18 Digital Journalist]
    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/279390

    Britain – A twelve-year-old M2F gender-variant schoolboy is preparing for GRS… [2009-09-18 The Sun]
    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2643393/Boy-12-turns-into-girl.html

    Britain – Children of 12 offered gender drugs to prepare for sex change… [2011-04-10 Sunday Mirror]
    http://tinyurl.com/3vl9b2l

    Britain – Girls, you can take the skirts off — because uniforms discriminate against transsexuals… [2010-02-21 Sunday Times]
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article7034961.ece

    Britain – Hormone ‘blockers’ could be offered to under-16s seeking sex change… [2009-09-20 Independent on Sunday]
    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/hormone-blockers-could-be-offered-to-under16s-seeking-sex-change-1790451.html

    Britain – M2F gender-variant 14-year-old Georgie Smith in sex change plea… [2009-11-23 The Sun]
    http://tinyurl.com/ydvylsd

    Britain – NHS has paid for ‘gender-confused’ children to have puberty-delaying jabs… so they can have sex changes when they’re older… [2012-01-22 Daily Mail]
    http://bit.ly/xnU2TG

    Britain – Schools told to act on ‘transgender bullying…’ [2009-12-11 The Times]
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/school_league_tables/article6952378.ece

    Britain – Sex change for children guidelines under review… [2009-09-19 The Telegraph]
    http://tinyurl.com/k3fvy84

    Britain – Should teens be granted sex change? [2009-09-23 BBC Radio4 Today]
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8270000/8270326.stm

    Britain – Support for LGBT youth in Chatham-Kent… [2010 -01-12 Chatham Daily News]
    http://www.chathamdailynews.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2256163

    Britain – Trans children will now be protected under the Equality bill… [2009-03-10 Pink News]
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-11533.html

    Britain – Transgender pupils will be given more support in tackling bullies at school… [2009-03-10 The Guardian (PA)]
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/mar/10/yesterday-in-parliament

    Britain – F2M gender-variant 17-year-old Alex Thornton (nee Sarah Thornton) set to become Britain’s youngest sex-change patient… [2008-06-27 Daily Mail]
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1030036/At-little-angel-At-17-shes-set-Britains-youngest-sex-change-patient.html

    Britain – Carol Heaton’s little boy Aron’s grown up to be Hannah, a girl of 17… [2011-06-08 The Sun]
    http://tinyurl.com/3beh7j7

  • “Once the family had decided that Ryland was going to transition, all it would take would be a disapproving neighbour to go to one of those sleazy supermarket tabloids ”

    So the parents were forced into this for fear of the tabloids? I’m confused now.

  • “That is not what I – or others – are saying. I just think a child of 4 is to young to make this decision and I think the massive majority of parents would realise this.”

    The confident assertions that a child of this age is old enough to be sure about being the wrong gender are a bit unsettling. Because if that were really the case, there would be no reason to prescribe a later age limit for irreversible actions such as surgical intervention. I can’t imagine many people would be in favour of that for such a young child (or, actually, for any child).

    That’s not to say that what these parents have done in terms of “lifestyle choices” for their child is in any way wrong, but I wonder they should be viewed as the last word on the child’s gender, as they seem to be.

  • Helen – I repeat, I never said that people on here had been sneering. The debate here has generally been about whether or not it’s a suitable judgement for a kid that age, which is fair enough. People do seem awfully quick to take abstracted statements as personal attacks…

  • (as a general note, I am sorry if my posts come across as barbed or as digs; that’s the second or third time I’ve been very surprised at how I’ve been interpreted; I assure you it’s nothing intentional)

  • Brenda Lana Smith 6th Jun '14 - 8:37am

    Sadly, the lack of comment—interpreted as indifference—to this LGBT + Lib Dems trans woman Human Rights activist highlighting the United Kingdom coalition government’s shameful failure to legislatively relieve the legal plight of gender variant folk—no matter our age, UK GRA 2004 gender certificated or not—on British Overseas Territories not only detracts from LibDem’s much vaunted “Equality for All” rhetoric… but is unbecoming of the Liberal Democratic Party I’ve long supported since having been driven beyond Bermuda’s societal and economic pale with impunity near twenty-five-years ago… and serves to reinforce my non-plotter support of LibDems4Change…

  • daft ha'p'orth 6th Jun '14 - 9:53am

    @Brenda Lana Smith
    I saw your long post about this last night when it came out of the mod filter but was a bit confused – are there articles in that list specific to “condoning discrimination of trans folk by failing to legislatively overrule the legal right on its own British Overseas Territories to discriminate against trans folk with impunity”?

    Not an LD member, just interested.

  • daft ha'p'orth 6th Jun '14 - 10:34am

    @Brenda Lana Smith
    To clarify: not that the list wasn’t interesting in its own right!

  • Brenda Lana Smith 6th Jun '14 - 10:46am

    Greetings, not so “daft ha’p’orth…”

    No… purely for the enlightenment and consideration of all that Britain, too, has gender variant minors… however… gender-variant minors—like adults—on British Overseas Territories may be openly discriminated against with impunity courtesy the United Kingdom coalition government’s shameful failure to legislatively intercede and overrule BOT LGBTQI phobic legislators…

  • daft ha'p'orth 7th Jun '14 - 12:48am

    @Brenda Lana Smith
    The Wikipedia page on LGBT rights in Bermuda is quite concerning.

    From this Hansard record there is this response:

    Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the status of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and the legality of same-sex marriage in UK Crown dependencies and overseas territories. [184746]

    Mark Simmonds: ” The protection and promotion of human rights in the Overseas Territories is primarily the responsibility of Territory Governments. Territories have had most of the core UN human rights conventions extended to them. The UK Government expects Territories to take action, including legislating where necessary, in any areas of disparity to reach full compliance.
    At the inaugural Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council in 2012, the UK and Territory Governments stated a shared belief in tackling discrimination so that all citizens had an equal opportunity to play an active role in society. Since then a number of pieces of anti-discrimination legislation has been passed in the Territories. For example Bermuda’s Human Rights Amendment Act 2013 ensures that no one is discriminated against on the basis of age or sexual orientation. At the Joint Ministerial Council in 2013, the UK and Territory Governments made a commitment to work together to extend the core UN human rights conventions to the Territories where these had not been extended already.
    The Crown Dependencies are not part of the UK but are self-governing dependencies of the Crown. The Crown Dependencies’ Governments are responsible for their domestic matters. However, UK Government is responsible for ensuring that the Crown Dependencies meet their international obligations, including under the European Convention on Human Rights.”

    There’s a Hansard record from Bermuda relating to the banning of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation which, bearing in mind that I know nothing at all about Bermuda, seemed quite enlightening. p91 seems to suggest that transgender discrimination was specifically excluded (‘He has said that this does not include transgender. He says “homosexual,” “heterosexual,”
    “bisexual.”’)

    I’d agree with you. From the looks of it someone needs to go back to said secretary of state and ask whether they’re content with Bermuda leaving transgender out of their Human Rights Amendment Act and, assuming that they are not, what are they going to do about it? It seems clear from the earlier response that they must not be content with it. The response says ‘in ANY areas of disparity to reach full compliance’, rather than ‘in any areas of disparity other than those which the people of Bermuda mostly don’t care about’.

    I guess it may be possible to get Tom Blenkinsop to ask a follow-up question assuming he’s still active? Otherwise, Caron, this really does seem like a good use of energy for an organisation that wants people to be accepted as they are…

  • Brenda Lana Smith 7th Jun '14 - 11:31am

    Thank you, certainly not “daft ha’p’orth” for compassionately coming to my aid, and my trans peers on British Overseas Territories by calling for action after so diligently gleaning and highlighting the legal plight of trans folk on Bermuda—population 64,806 (2012…)

    Bermuda’s powers-that-be well aware that I had long been publicly lobbying that sexual orientation and gender identity are individually separate and distinct entities that need to be regarded and legislated as such… in my opinion—courtesy page 1422 2013-06-14 Official Hansard Report—The Hon. R. Wayne Scott, JP MP, Bermuda’s Minister of Community, Culture and Sport wilfully circumvented the rightful inclusion of gender identity and therefore the protection for gender variant folk on Bermuda in the HUMAN RIGHTS AMENDMENT ACT 2013 when asked by An Hon Member: What about transgender?

    As an injured party and LibDem party member I call upon the Liberal Democratic Party parliamentarians while still in government to honourably table and force through parliament legislation overruling the right on British Overseas Territories to discriminate against trans folk with impunity…

  • Brenda Lana Smith 8th Jun '14 - 2:40pm

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  • User AvatarStephen Hesketh 23rd Oct - 1:14pm
    Quantitative!!! This is why we need a preview function!
  • User AvatarStephen Hesketh 23rd Oct - 1:11pm
    @Malcolm Todd23rd Oct '14 - 11:45am " The money comes from financial institutions, who lend it to the government (that is, they buy interest-bearing bonds,...
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 23rd Oct - 1:01pm
    I have just spoken to Donnachadh. His arrest was for not giving his name - as he is carried into the van he is giving...
  • User AvatarSteve Coltman 23rd Oct - 1:00pm
    Ironically, this rather undemocratic system has got us a parliamentarian who is unusually well-qualified. A proper democratic system is unlikely to have produced such a...
  • User AvatarGF 23rd Oct - 12:57pm
    Julian Critchely - That exact same question was asked of Mariner Eccles, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank during President Roosevelt's administration when testifying before...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 23rd Oct - 12:53pm
    Paul Walter Would the 'beaker folk' include Danny Alexander? :-)