It’s been (another) difficult week for trans people. From online bullying to arson attacks, it feels like there hasn’t been much in the way of safe spaces for our trans or non-binary family to live their life without fear of attack.
But there is also a glimmer of hope.
Yesterday, Maya Forstater’s petition to change the Equality Act’s definition of sex closed having managed to only just scrape past the 100K signature mark, with 109,462 signatures.
If supported by the government, the change in the Equality Act would allow services to discriminate against trans people and could force trans women to use cisgender-male bathrooms and changing rooms, or force trans men to use cis-gender female facilities.
In contrast, a petition started by Anna Mary Seale to not amend the Equality Act has amassed 136,957 signatures at the time of writing, eclipsing Forstater’s petition by 27,495 supporters.
With another 24 days to run before the petition closes on 15 May, support for keeping the Equality Act unchanged will only continue to grow.
It’s a massive show of support for the trans and non-binary community, which according to the 2021 census in England and Wales makes up just 0.5% of the population.
Let’s be clear: trans people are not a threat to cis-gendered people now, historically, or in the future,
Forstater and an extremely vocal yet small brigade of anti-queer protestors are often given a platform by anti-queer media, but the end result of this petition is evidence of how these views are not reflected in wider society.
It’s not only most LGBTQ+ people that understand that trans people are not a threat to society – the vast majority of people in the UK do not feel threatened by trans people, either.
Like the rest of us, trans and non-binary people are simply looking to live their lives true to themselves and be free to work and contribute to society without bullying or fear of violence, whether that is online or in the streets.
Away from the anti-queer media and the vitriol spewed out on social media, looking beyond the hatemongers, I see evidence of a more tolerant society all around me.
This week, I attended Sam Smith’s Gloria tour at the O2. Gathered there to watch the world’s foremost non-binary pop star were not just queer fans. The audience around us was comprised of young teenage girls, and middle-aged straight couples, and to our left there was even a group of women in their sixties. Sam’s gender or sexual identity was being celebrated by all. Not just on this night, but across a sold-out tour.
It gives me hope that while a very vociferous minority of people are wheeled out to “debate” the existence of trans and non-binary people, the growing majority of people in the world are not aligned with their hateful rhetoric.
The future is progressive, and more supportive of LGBTQ+ freedom than is sometimes apparent when I’m scrolling past endless hateful tweets to find myself a fun cat meme to laugh along to.
The real threat to society is not trans and non-binary identity. It is in the divisive antics of these anti-queer campaigners – both straight and those awful ‘LGB without the T’ advocates – and the hateful agenda they continue to push, incessantly attacking a vulnerable and marginalised section of society.
Trans people need all our support and allyship. They certainly have mine, and I hope yours, too.