I’ve been trans since I was a child in the 80s. I learned early on, that little boys shouldn’t be sensitive or, kind; but should play rough, not care for their appearance or for the feelings of others. Anything ‘weak’, feminine, or ‘other’ was to be mocked or punished. It seemed the worst thing you could be was girly, or, heaven forfend, gay. You learn to hide who you are, never being who you need to be.
When you swim through that toxicity, it gets in your eyes, your ears, your throat. It’s hard not to swallow some of it, those burning lies. If you can’t keep your head above, you might go under, and for a time, it drowns you.
If you manage to haul yourself from that swamp, it’s cold and isolating on the shore. It feels like going back in might be better, but something stops you. In time, as you clear the muck from your eyes, you see others like you. People who don’t want to live in that grimness, the backdrop of anger and fear. You learn, eventually, that you need to let go and reject any calls to come back in. Maybe it’s the perfect home for some, but not for all.
I’ve had the luck and privilege to meet allies and gain friends who are transgender. I’ve listened to trans people share their lives: the good and the bad. I’ve seen people bloom, discovering who they needed to be. Amazing people – non-trans and trans alike – have helped them discover and grow, leaving behind the shame and guilt. Never forgetting their roots, but leaving behind their baggage. Imagine a time where no child, teen, or adult feels ashamed of who they are, that there’s no need for support groups, and people are… well, okay with who they need to be.
It’s time for this government to ban Conversion Therapy for everyone. The will of the people – a much quoted slogan – is there, MPs from all parties support this, health professionals and experts have evidence: it’s time to listen and act. 🏳️🌈
Lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people are valid, worthy of respect, and are worthy of the same rights that cisgender/heterosexual people benefit from. No one should be subject to the damage that Conversion Therapy does. No one should be forced to sit in specific zones on the bus, banned from water drinkers, or segregated because of their birth. Yet, this creeping hate suggests that trans people – like people of colour, like Jewish folk, like gay men: ‘that they cannot be trusted near children and women‘. That’s crap, and you know it.
To those with the power to change things, when you do not, your gestures are hollow and meaningless. Do not stand by the progress flag if you don’t believe in it.
Until there is LGBTQ equality, it’s #NotSafeToBeMe
A few months ago, the UK Government cancelled its first-ever international LGBT+ conference, ‘Safe To Be Me’. This followed the UK Government’s decision to exclude trans people from the ban on conversion therapy, and more than 100 organisations – including Stonewall – subsequently chose to boycott the conference.
Rather than actively working with the LGBTQ+ community to protect trans people in the ban, the UK Government has shown that we are not safe to be ourselves. That’s why we’re supporting Trans Activism UK’s protest to stand up and speak up for LGBTQ+ rightsStonewall
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