Feminist and trans equality organisations can work very well together – Scotland leads the way

You can hardly open a newspaper these days – including some which should know better – without seeing some horrible, untrue and vicious stories about transgender people.

It’s terrifying to me as a cisgender woman to see any group of people targeted in this way. Imagine what it must be like if you are transgender. Your very right to exist is being questioned. In the US, an ignorant President undermines you at every opportunity.

As Liberals, I would argue that we have an absolute duty to do everything we can to stand up for people who are being targeted with so much hate. Doing nothing is simply not an option.

It makes me furious when I see some vocal feminists target transgender women. It really, really does not have to be this way. I don’t often voluntarily share articles from The National, but on this occasion, I am proud to do so. James Norton, who works for the Scottish Trans Alliance wrote an excellent piece about how feminist and transgender rights activists and organisations work so well together in Scotland. He writes about a decade of respectful dialogue has done all it can

to ensure that trans equality enhances wider gender/sex equality and that discussion is factual, friendly and diverse.

He continues:

Together, Scotland’s trans and feminist movements have grown in our mutual understanding and support of each other. We have found huge common ground in our desire to prevent sexual assault and domestic violence, ensure bodily autonomy and reproductive freedoms, implement equal pay and challenge gender stereotypes. There cannot be full trans equality without full equality for women.

This has extended to all parts of the feminist movement:

Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland became trans-inclusive on a self-declaration basis several years ago, thanks to pragmatic discussions that identified sensible ways to uphold safety and dignity for all. It is incorrect to claim that Gender Recognition Act reform is a threat to women’s services, austerity budget cuts pose the true danger to the existence of these vital services. We are fighting the cuts together.

He goes on to talk about some of the divisive stuff in the media and calls for a much more constructive discussion in Scotland as a Scottish Government consultation takes place on much-needed reform of the Gender Recognition Act.

Trans people need Scottish society, and particularly the Scottish media, to recognise the difference between divisive scaremongering and compassionate reasonable dialogue. Let’s keep public discussions and newspaper coverage factual and friendly like the discussions between Scotland’s trans and feminist organisations already are.

How can we foster that same sort of constructive dialogue elsewhere?

Stonewall has produced a lovely series of videos featuring trans and non-binary people. You can watch them all here. Have a look at Kate and Lewis tell their stories:

Do your bit by sharing these articles and videos and showing that you stand up for trans equality and against hatred.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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One Comment

  • The issue of collaboration in this sphere and in this day and age is that the terms by which this sphere operates have been set by identity politics. As such evidence and objective data has been replaced by emotion and narratives of ‘lived experience’, and victimhood has become the currency by which to claim authority, expressing it as loudly as possible (hence the competitive victimhood Olympics and the oh so common claim to authority by prefacing an arugement with “As a …. (insert and identity characteristic)”). This highly competitive sphere of victimhood coupled with the rejection of reason, has quite predictably, created unreasonable people and unreasonable situations. The faultlines between feminists and trans movements and LGBT and race/ethnicity movements have their ideological reasons, but the aggression between them is rooted in the abandonment of reason. Intersectionality has done little to temper, let alone unite the issue

    It’s an excellent example of the pernicious and corrosive damage done by identity politics. Us Liberals would be best to take our toe (or maybe by now leg) out of this deeply poisonous pool, and aim to discuss the issues of discrimination from the principles of JS Mill’s inclusive On Liberty rather than Marx’s divisive Das Kapital (the latter being what so much of these movements and pundits draw their inspiration from)

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