Come out for trans equality
Easter Saturday fell on 31 March this year. It’s a time when we await with hope the triumph of life over death, of love over hate – and a time when we are also all-too-aware of the fragility and fallenness of the world we live in.
So, it seems fitting that the Trans Day of Visibility also takes place on 31 March. This opportunity to celebrate the lives and experiences of trans people also reminds us of the scale of discrimination faced by trans and non-binary people worldwide.
Stonewall’s recent research, LGBT in Britain: Trans Report, gives an insight into the experience of trans and non-binary people in Britain today.
Shockingly, the research shows that far too many are failed by health services, at work, and in having their gender legally recognised.
One in eight trans employees have been physically attacked by a colleague or customer in the last year and a quarter of trans people have experienced homelessness.
We are becoming increasingly familiar with hostile media coverage which questions trans people’s rights and even the legitimacy of trans identities.
While we have seen positive moves – with the Church of England releasing ground-breaking guidance for its schools on preventing transphobic bullying at the end of last year - we don’t visually and vocally celebrate the lives and contributions of trans people in our churches and communities often enough.
Sadly, we also continue see organisations, like Christian Concern, promoting hate under the guise of gospel values, and trying to give the impression that all Christians agree.
However, this year we do have an opportunity to speak out to improve trans rights, as the Government seeks to reform the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, committing to simplifying and de-medicalising the process for trans people to have their gender legally recognised - which is currently intrusive, demeaning and complex.
These reforms will not in themselves solve all the problems illustrated in the Trans Report. But success here will provide the platform for wider change; and equally failure will set back much needed reforms to public services, support and rights for trans people.
We’ve seen before how legal changes like same sex marriage and overturning Section 28 have helped push forward social change. Together, we can do it again.
We are called, as people of faith, to recognise and bear witness to the hopes and struggles of trans people within and beyond the churches. Whether we are lesbian, gay, bi, straight, trans, non-binary or cis.
But not only that. This year, we need to stand up for love over hate and to play our part in the battle for acceptance without exception for all trans and non-binary people.
Please add your voice to the public consultation on the Gender Recognition Act reform when it opens later this year. Sign up here for updates.
If you are part of an LGBT+ group or organisation, join one of our free campaigning and influencing workshops in London on 13 or 14 April. These are focused around the Gender Recognition Act, campaigning for trans equality, with lots of opportunities to meet other groups and share skills. Find out more and register your place.
Sarah Hagger-Holt, Campaigns and Communities Manager, Stonewall