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A difficult week.

Published: 15 June 2020 Tags: gra reform By Emma Meehan

The last week has been incredibly challenging for those in trans and non-binary communities, with many people feeling understandably worried and frightened for what the future may hold. We want to reassure you that LGBT Foundation is still, and always will be, here if you need us. Know that you are not alone, and we will continue to stand alongside you in the fight for a fair and equal society. If you need to speak to someone call us - 0345 3 30 30 30. At the other end of the phone, you'll find someone who cares about you who is ready to listen.

Over the weekend, reports emerged that the Government are set to drop long-awaited plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act. Responding to this
Rob Cookson, Deputy Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation, says:

“We are deeply concerned by media reports today which appear to confirm the Government’s intention to drop the long awaited reforms to the Gender Recognition Act. This is despite 70% of reported responses to the Government’s own consultation showing support for reforms.

These reforms would make it more straightforward for people to get legal recognition of their gender. The current process for changing the legal gender on a person’s birth certificate is expensive, intrusive and dehumanising.

Reform is long overdue and there is a real risk of further rollbacks to hard-won LGBT rights if these media reports are shown to be true.

LGBT Foundation are currently gathering messages of support for trans and non-binary people to show. Your voices are vital in helping to end discrimination and hatred towards trans people, and we urge all LGBT people and our allies to speak up in support.”

Further to this, the discussions following a blog post by author JK Rowling last week on trans people and single-sex spaces have created yet more debate about the rights of trans people to dignity and safety. In addition, we are deeply concerned by reports in today's newspapers that the Government are set to drop long-awaited plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act, which would make it more straightforward to get legal recognition of your gender.

We thank JK Rowling for her honesty about her experiences in her past, and how these continue to affect her life now. We stand in solidarity with all of those who have gone through domestic and sexual abuse. Particularly in the current climate, where more people will be at home in potentially toxic or dangerous environments, we need to keep speaking about how we can continue to support survivors of sexual and domestic abuse and prevent this from happening.

However, we are concerned that the voices of many trans allies, are being erased in an attempt to create a narrative about the voices of (cisgender) women versus the voices of trans people. We know that this is not the case and we must work collectively to empower and end discrimination and abuse of all women and trans people.

We know that there are many people, from all walks of life, who are absolutely supportive of trans and non-binary people, who do not see trans rights in opposition to women’s rights, who accept and welcome their trans friends, families and colleagues, and who are strong and vocal allies.

That is why we asked our friends and supporters to share their messages of support. We welcomed messages from everyone but particularly sought after responses from those whose voices are being erased, such as cisgender women and trans men. We received an outpouring of love, below is a selection of the comments we received:

  • You exist, you are valid, your life matters, you are human and you ought to be treated as with love and respect. You are who you are and that is enough, that is beautiful, that is perfect. Continue being amazing, caring and loving. Know that you are loved and you are supported!
  • The current GRA is woefully inadequate. The Government must stand up for transgender rights for the sake of the whole LGBTQ+ community. It's saddening to see this be opposed by people in Government who claim to support trans rights, but with the majority backing from the public consultation, I say to all trans people, we are with you.
  • To the trans and non-binary survivors of sexual violence, I want you to know that I see you. I see your pain, your numbness, your anger. No one else will ever understand the devastation that each of us feels, when the worst has happened. Although we may never meet, I want to tell you that I see you, and while our circumstances may be different, we are connected in a way that most won't understand. I need you to know that you are not alone, despite those who wish to divide us. Many of us are with you. We are fighting with you, and we will challenge those who refuse to acknowledge your existence. We will walk with you. We will support you and offer you our unconditional love and acceptance. We are here at your side, always, as defenders, as LGBT siblings.
  • As a Cis gender woman I would like to say to all of the trans and non-binary community: I see you. I recognise you, and I support your right to be you. I have never felt that my identity and rights are threatened by trans and non-binary people.
  • I am a cisgender, pansexual woman. I 100% support transgender and gender non-conforming people. I believe trans women's rights are an essential part of the fight to ensure all women live life to our fullest potential. I believe trans men are men and that non-binary and gender non-conforming identities are valid. Or to be more precise, I don't 'believe' this - I know it.
  • I am a straight cis-gender feminist woman and I am against all forms of trans phobia. I am sickened that my sexuality and cis genderedness are being used as a part of this divisive narrative. I stand with trans and non-binary people. Being the person you know you are should not have to be a fight.
  • To all my trans and non-binary friends, going forward my support for you will only get louder and I promise to listen more closely to what you need from me as a cisgender ally. By openly being your authentic trans or non-binary self, you enhance the world by filling it with more beautiful, courageous people. You have my support now and always.
  • Womanhood isn’t about reproduction. This view doesn’t reflect the experiences of trans men, trans women, non-binary people, or many cis women. Trans and non-binary people are who they say they are. Giving everybody the rights they deserve does not threaten my safety, and transphobes will never represent me as a cis woman. Trans people have always supported us in the fight for lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights; now we need to stand up for theirs.
  • As a cis woman I stand in solidarity with the trans community. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary people exist. Trans and non-binary rights are human rights. Black trans lives matter. You are beautiful, you are loved and you deserve to take up space.
  • As a trans ally it’s imperative that we share messages of support and validation. I am sending lots of love and strength to all trans people. At a time when you might be questioning how ‘accepted’ you are in our world, please know that so many people are outraged by recent events and opinions, and so many people have got your back. Trans women are women, and as a cis woman I celebrate the diversity of womens communities – if trans women weren’t part of these communities there would be a huge gap.

We want these messages to be heard loud and clear so trans and non-binary communities know just how much support they have. We are still seeking more responses, you can add your own here.

To trans and non-binary people, whilst the present may be very upsetting and we may not know what the future may hold, we want to remind you that you are not alone. We love you and we will always be here if you need us. The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.