Lib Dems mark Transgender Day of Visibility

This Transgender Day of Visibility, the message to trans people from the Lib Dems, and this site, is very much “we see you, we love you, we have your backs.”

For a community under daily attack in the media, it is vital that we stand with them. Our trans siblings are real live people with lives, ambitions, hopes, feelings and needs, not weapons in a right wing culture war.

My trans loved ones are amongst the bravest people I know and I for one will not stand by and see them vilified and demonised. Wherever the attacks come from, I will be there for them. I hope that everyone reading this site will be with me on that one.

It’s good to see that the party is so supportive of trans people. Ed Davey and senior Liberal Democrats have regular meetings with trans members to learn from them what barriers they are facing and how we can help as a party.  It’s so important to have that dialogue when there is so much wilful misinformation out there.

On Twitter today, the party said:

On #TransDayOfVisibility we celebrate trans people and stand with the trans community against hatred and discrimination. To all our trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming members, supporters, friends and followers: we respect you, we value you – today and every day.

Cllr Chris Northwood, who is our Deputy Group Leader in Manchester, has written for the LGA especially for Trans Day of Visibility. She talked about the toxicity of social media but also said that away from that, people are more concerned with things like road safety and affordable housing. She said:

I was nervous before committing to stand as a council candidate with a full campaign behind me, but, with support from my local party, I was encouraged to go from activist to candidate, and stand up for my area.

I’m naturally a conflict-averse person. This might look incompatible with being a local councillor in opposition, but I spend more time on building consensus and connections in my community than on the ‘rough and tumble’ of politics.

Standing as a trans woman brings an extra dimension to this, as my identity has become heavily politicised in the so-called ‘culture war’.

Fortunately, away from the echo chambers of the internet and certain corners of the media, people are more interested in who can get on top of fly-tipping, champion road safety and fight for more affordable housing.

Sadly, I have received hate and abuse that originated online, but support and allyship from council staff, my political group and campaign team have been steadfast and strong, including where the police were brought in to investigate an incident.

It’s important to not just be ‘the trans councillor’. Although I’m able to be a visible representative for the trans community, I bring my whole self to my duties as a councillor.

I balance my councillor duties with working part-time as a software developer for a national charity and have found that my skills in user-centric design transfer well to putting residents first, as well as to problem solving.

My professional knowledge also helps me to scrutinise high-budget IT and cybersecurity decisions effectively.

Democracy is strongest when elected representatives do actually represent the whole gamut of lived experience of our society.

I’m proud to be able to add to that and, with appropriate support, it is an option open to others too.

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

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