Tag Archives: transgender rights

Today’s cancellation of the 2nd part of the Leveson Inquiry – a massive betrayal of the promises to victims of press abuses

Just over six years ago, I walked into the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, sat down in a blue chair in front of some microphones and faced about an hour of questions from Robert Jay QC. I was giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.

Quite frankly, I had been terrified about doing so. Before heading up to London I had called the local police to warn them that I may need rapid response. I had talked through press management with the school I was a governor at, and had given advice to every single family member.

But I sat there and dismantled the evidence given by the editors of the Mail and the Sun, including pointing to a story the Scottish Sun had published the same day that Dominic Mohan (the Sun’s editor) had said they had improved their reporting on trans issues.

I did this, not because I personally had been the subject of adverse or downright hostile press coverage, but because as part of campaigning for fairer media representation of trans and intersex people, the group I had helped start had received numerous stories from those who had. Reading the damage the press did to countless individuals and families, including disrupting the education of children who had nothing to do with the stories the press were covering – quite honestly it was and still is heart-breaking.

My appearance before the biggest media story in the country at the time went largely unreported, probably for obvious reasons. Fortunately the protections I’d put around my family, my company and the school I volunteered for were simply not needed. But the initial appearance did prompt a press backlash on the community I represented– until I made a second submission, acknowledged by the Inquiry Team within minutes.

The relatively new Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – Matt Hancock – has made clear his direction of travel from shortly after he was appointed. Under Karen Bradley, Government launched a consultation last year on whether the second part of the Leveson Inquiry should proceed, but it was clear from the questions asked where they were minded to go.

So today’s cancellation of the second part of the Leveson Inquiry – the part that couldn’t happen while court cases were proceeding – comes as no great surprise.

But it is a massive betrayal of the promises to victims of press abuses made by David Cameron, who said publicly that Leveson’s proposals would be fully implemented unless they were clearly bonkers. Those victims are hurting, and hurting badly. Not only were they subjected to some of the most egregious behaviour, they now feel completely betrayed by Government.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments

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.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 1 Comment
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  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 19th Nov - 8:03pm
    Alex Macfie, in my view the political naivety lies with what Mark Pack describes in this blog post-https://www.markpack.org.uk/121390/liberal-democrats-repeated-jo-grimonds-mistake/ in which he concludes: "Will the party...
  • User AvatarYvonne Finlayson 19th Nov - 8:02pm
    I joined the party as I thought, as per the constitution, that we would support the most disadvantaged in our communities. It’s to my dismay...
  • User AvatarMartin 19th Nov - 7:31pm
    Alex Macfie: I agree, a 'no deal' would be an extraordinary outcome given that it appeals only to the most blinkered and socially irresponsible ideologues....
  • User AvatarOnceALibDem 19th Nov - 7:27pm
    Lib Dem voice has got a lot more hostile to food banks than in the coalition years when things like this were being written: "The...
  • User AvatarDavid Warren 19th Nov - 6:55pm
    @John Marriott Agree with you on the Overseas Aid budget. @David Raw Agree with your point on voting for cuts during the coalition years. There...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 19th Nov - 6:49pm
    If there is one, amongst a few, things I welcome about left Labour, it is they have no guilt on these issues. It was the...