Since the UK Government first proposed modest changes to the Gender Recognition Act to improve the lives of trans people in the UK, an often toxic debate has taken hold in the press and across social media, particularly targeting trans women but impacting upon the lives and lived experience of all trans and non-binary people. As a coalition of Networks representing LGBT+ employees in a range of organisations within Kent and Medway we wish to make it clear that we do not accept the false and often overtly transphobic narrative that is being advanced, and that we stand with and support our trans colleagues, students and service-users in their rights to live their lives in peace and security. We believe that trans and non-binary individuals are full members of the Queer community and always have been, and we reject any attempts to seek to separate trans people from the wider LGBT+ community.
Assertions made by a vocal minority that trans women are a sexual threat to cis women in single-sex spaces and that trans men are victims of an overbearing patriarchy are offensive in their assumptions and biases and do not listen to or take account of trans voices. The idea that single-sex spaces are under threat is not supported by any evidence from within the UK or indeed overseas, especially as most single-sex spaces already operate on a de facto self-ID basis and rarely require legal evidence of one’s gender. Further, the changes the government had proposed to the GRA would have no impact on the continuing existence of single-sex spaces as these are already covered by the Equality Act 2010.
As a Network of LGBT+ Networks we stand with our trans and non-binary colleagues in calling for trans equality, with better support and recognition for trans and non-binary people and the struggles they face. We know that within our institutions we still have work to do, but we are unequivocal in our aim to make the places where we work safe and welcoming to staff and service-users of all genders and identities.
Our message to the world is that trans people are welcome in Kent and Medway, without fear of discrimination. Trans rights are human rights, protected by law, and we reject any assertion that the rights of trans people in any way conflict with the rights of any other groups. Trans women are women, trans men are men, people who identify as non-binary deserve respect and legal protection for who they are. Trans people are our colleagues, our students, our friends, our families, and we stand with them every step of the way on the march towards true equality.
If you would like to learn how to be an ally, or wish to find out more about the rights of trans and non-binary people, visit https://mermaidsuk.org.uk/news/ or https://www.stonewall.org.uk/truth-about-trans.
This statement was drafted & is supported by
CCCq – The staff LGBTIQ+ Network of Canterbury Christ Church University
East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
South East Coast Ambulance Service
The University of Kent LGBT+ Staff Network