LIb Dems mark Transgender Day of Visibility

31st March every year is the Transgender Day of Visibility. Liberal Democrats have been marking the occasion at a time when the transgender community continues to face a toxic atmosphere of hostility in the media and beyond.

The resilience of this community in the face of such discrimination is quite remarkable.

This year, as the much-needed reform of the Gender Recognition Act looks likely to be shelved in England and is in jeopardy in Scotland due to splits in the SNP, there are even greater challenges ahead.

This year there is no colourful and exuberant trans pride in Scotland as there has been for the past couple of years, but there will be again once all this is over.

Liberal Democrat policy on trans rights is clear. Trans rights are human rights, trans men are men, trans women are women and non binary identities are as valid as everyone else’s.

It was great to see parliamentarians, starting with one of our acting leaders, show solidarity:

Christine Jardine said that we need to keep fighting against the discrimination that trans people face.

A lovely message of solidarity from Jane Dodds, too:

Jamie Stone added his support:

And Layla Moran said that trans rights were human rights:

An article on the LGBT+ Lib Dems website tells about the extra challenges facing trans people because of the Coronavirus pandemic:

Life has changed significantly in the last few weeks, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Things that used to be easy have become harder. Routine medical care has all but vanished. Our social spaces have largely become inaccessible, or replaced by online gatherings. We are stuck indoors with people we may not be used to spending so much time with. Some of us are stuck with people who are hostile or violent.

For a lot of trans people, none of this is new – but it has got worse. The appointments being cancelled include access to hormones, therapy and surgery for trans people, for those lucky enough or patient enough to get through the many-year waiting list for vastly underfunded NHS services. Even within LGBT+ social spaces, trans people often feel excluded, marginalised or fetishised rather than welcomed, creating the need for trans spaces such as Brighton Trans Pride and Manchester’s Sparkle. And many trans people are not lucky enough to be welcomed by their family, let alone safe enough to be open with them. Trans people are at high risk of domestic violence

The stresses caused by the pandemic and quarantine efforts are compounding those already felt by a community which is proud and resilient, but frequently misunderstood and discriminated against.

It’s great to see Lib Dem Women celebrate the day by publishing an excellent piece by Jasmine-Josephine Sakura Rose on the issues she faces in today’s tough environment:

I am not ashamed to be out

But I am afraid to be out

Perhaps there are trans or non-binary people in the UK who are not afraid to be out at the moment, but I haven’t spoken to anybody who can say that. Because right now being trans or non-binary and out in the UK is becoming an increasingly scary thing

I live my life surrounded by a media that is hostile to me—hostile to the very idea that trans or non-binary people can and should exist without being questioned about who we are; questioned about our validity; questioned about whether we’re a danger to “normal” people. A media that sees no problem in running increasingly hostile articles and pieces that portray trans women as dangerous predators in disguise; as trans men as “confused lesbians”; non-binary people being “fake attention seekers”

To be trans or non-binary in the UK is to face a constant barrage of people demanding that I mustn’t be allowed the simple dignity of saying who I am and having that accepted, instead demanding that who I am can and must only be what I’m told I’m allowed to be

To be trans or non-binary in the UK is to face an ever increasing number of people who seem to think that it’s perfectly acceptable for them to define my existence for me, but that my quiet insistence on pointing out that it is not for them to have any say in who I am is somehow hostile or rude.

As liberals, it’s our duty to fight against those sorts of discriminatory attitudes and ensure that trans people are able to be who they are without fear.

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

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This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • The party needs to come out with a clear statement that organisations like Transgender Trend and Womans Place UK are hate groups and support for them isn’t compatible with Lib Dem membership.

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