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Comment: Stonewall does great work for gay kids but what about anti-trans bullying?

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  1. Carol Uren 23 Jan, 7:56pm

    I think you are being very charitable towards S*onewall Paris, but maybe you are right, maybe it is time to bury old grudges because of the way that they ignored the plight of trans children being bullied at school – and in the workplace or media (for example in the case of the media and Lucy Meadows).
    It will be interesting to see if S*onewall is prepared to fight for all those suffering from gender based oppression – and to put the ‘t’ back into its policies and become the Stonewall it always should have been.

  2. William Habbet 23 Jan, 8:51pm

    As a gay man I don’t believe I am alone in my views that sexuality and gender identity should be treated as two separate entities. Being attracted to the same sex and being born in the wrong are worlds apart and to group them together hinders the cause of each community in both understanding and acceptance.

    When I came out I joined the LGB community, a community of like minded people who shared a common link through their sexuality. The addition of the T has never sat right with me and I feel that the interests of the LGB community and the Transgendered community would be better served by organisations focused on each rather than both.

  3. cwmbear 23 Jan, 8:59pm

    I asked Stonewall and they said trandgender is not a sexual orientation issue but a gender issue.
    I personally wish they did fight for transgender people but they don’t:(

    1. Paul Brownsey 23 Jan, 9:56pm

      No, I think the concerns of LGB people and those of T people are so different as to make different organizations appropriate. Lumping together LGB with T is comparable to lumping together LGB with the concerns of those who campaign for fathers having better access to their children. Indeed, combining LGB with T in an organization is likely to fuel the old myth that gay men want to be women and lesbians want to be men.

      1. I agree with you, Paul. However, Reading Paris’ account of what she went through at school is so similar to what most Gay kids go through that she makes a powerful case for lumping us in together – as the bullies do anyway. Many Gay kids have gender identity questions.

        1. I think it also becomes problematic when one LGB pressure group becomes so successful and ubiquitous – as Stonewall has – that it kind of drowns out trans groups. Lots of employers, schools, etc., seem to form partnerships with Stonewall and then feel that they have “done” the LGBT thing – a lot of them are probably unaware that Stonewall makes no attempt to deal with trans issues (or that they don’t necessarily do a good job of representing all LGB people, for that matter).

      2. Anne Snow 24 Jan, 6:26am

        That’s not what trans people are though. They’re women wanting to be women and men wanting to be men. That’s the entire point of being trans.

        1. Sinead Harkin 24 Jan, 7:04am

          +1

        2. No point in over-simplifying it, Anne. No one is saying that Trans and Gay are the same. But both our communities have problems dealing with perception from outside. Plus, there is a grey area around Gay children having gender confusion and Trans people. Bullies will not necessarily make a distinction. It is what we have in common that may provide a case for Stonewall to lobby inclusively.

        3. Paul Brownsey 24 Jan, 10:55am

          “They’re women wanting to be women and men wanting to be men.”

          Anne, aren’t you using “women” with two different meanings and “men” with two different meanings?

          In each case, your first use of the term refers to how someone (mentally) identifies themselves and your second use of the term seems to refer to bodily parts.

          The “old myth” I referred to is, expressed in your terms, that those who are gay men (defined by bodily parts) mentally identify as women.

        4. friday jones 27 Jan, 10:24am

          I’m transsexual, old-school and all that, but I’m also bisexual. About half of all trans women are attracted to women, and many trans men are attracted to men. Trans feminine children who were assigned male at birth get called “faggots” by bullies, and trans masculine children who were assigned female at birth get called “lezzies” by bullies.

          No matter how much Gay & Lesbian people who also happen to be bigots try to call our plights separate, they are not. We are all considered to be sexually perverted by bigoted straight people. Let’s not have a go at each other for the same stupid non-reason. We must all hang together, or we shall all surely hang separately.

        5. friday jones 27 Jan, 10:26am

          I’m transsexual, old-school and all that, but I’m also bisexual. About half of all trans women are attracted to women, and many trans men are attracted to men. Trans feminine children who were assigned male at birth get called “f_gg_ts” by bullies, and trans masculine children who were assigned female at birth get called “l_zz__s” by bullies.

          No matter how much Gay & Lesbian people who also happen to be bigots try to call our plights separate, they are not. We are all considered to be sexually perverted by bigoted straight people. Let’s not have a go at each other for the same stupid non-reason. We must all hang together, or we shall all surely hang separately.

  4. There aren’t many trans people, so lobbying for equality and tolerance is harder for T than LGB.

    However, despite the gender/sexuality differences, T people (who aren’t LGB) share a lot with LGB people – the same laws preventing normal and equal life; the same attitudes towards sexuality and gender; and the same intolerances.

    It makes perfect sense for LGB people to support their T friends – strength in numbers working towards a common cause.

    However, I agree that when it comes to the finer issues of supporting some T needs which aren’t known to LGB people, specialist T organisations will better support them.

    Stonewall Scotland seem to have embraced LGBT rather than LGB, and I think we’re all the richer for it.

    1. I appreciate and completely understand your reply, very valid points – sadly it seems that they’ve renamed the article title, and deleted my valid comment, despite the notice that “These comments are un-moderated”.. more censored!

      NB: The original title can still be found in the URL: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/01/23/comment-to-trans-people-stonewall-has-been-like-an-anti-racism-group-that-only-protected-chinese-kids/comments/

  5. Strawman, that isn’t what she said at all. Highlighting that being against racism against one ethnic group but indifferent towards racism to another group would be hypocritical, seems like a good analogy for how groups like S’onewall have declared “not my problem” with regards to one specific type of gender based bigotry.

    I would say it though, it is a bit rich to have a problem with people not being “up in arms” about racism while quite clearly saying it is wrong to show the parallels between racism and any other, *lesser* kind of bigotry. Just because you may not experience one form of discrimination doesn’t make that kind less important than discrimination you do have to deal with.

  6. Michael Stevens 23 Jan, 9:52pm

    This issue is not confined to the UK, and I think it shows the fragile and artificial nature of what we call our “community”.

    As a gay man I have nothing in common with Trans people – except for the shared experience of oppression for being different. Nor do I have anything in common with Intersex people, the “I” in LGBTI that is more and more included in the idea of our community, though ignored by this writer.

    We share in the common experience of being dismissed and oppressed because to the general public we do not fit into their “normal” boxes around sexuality and gender. But that shared oppression does not make us a cohesive community.

    My choice to support Trans and Intersex people comes from my personal beliefs around Human Rights, but we are not a natural community, we are not a natural fit, and we have different priorities and issues.

    This does not mean that an organisation like Stonewall should ignore Trans and Intersex people and issues. They are in a unique position to strengthen and support them and I believe they should do so out of the general principle that Human Rights matter to us all, and we who have fought so hard to come this far should offer this support to others.

    1. LGB people, trans people, and intersex people clearly have a lot more in common than that. LGB people are often non-gender conforming and are likely to go through doubts about their gender identity, while trans and intersex people often spend some time unsure about their sexual orientation, even if they end up identifying as straight. The closet and coming out experiences are shared by all of these groups, the prejudice and discrimination experienced by them often have similar roots and are often expressed in similar ways, and many of the changes to the law that they have fought for are closely linked. There is also a lot of shared culture and history (most obviously in this context, the Stonewall riots).

    2. Veronica 24 Jan, 5:26pm

      “As a gay man I have nothing in common with Trans people”

      That’s simply untrue. Gender binary speaking (which is what society impose on the group) transsexual people are either LGB before coming out or LGB after. Very few go from straight to straight, so you definitely have something in common with most transsexual people. Separating discrimination of the LGB from the T isn’t possible as they intersect and overlap, as Paris explains with her own personal story.

      1. But based on your logic, what we have in common with trans people is actually an incorrectly self-assessed sexual orientation, rather than something actually in common.

    3. Craig NZ 25 Jan, 10:02pm

      Michael, dialogue and solidarity may be difficult to achieve in this context, but they must be undertaken and injustices must be remedied where they exist. In New Zealand’s context, those injustices can take horrendous forms- for example, until recently, it was perfectly “okay” for transitioning transgender prisoners to be placed in gender-inappropriate prisons. And while pakeha New Zealanders might regard the issues as distinct, Maori New Zealanders don’t feel that way, given that their ways of living gender and sexual identity aren’t ours. It’s good to see you’re supportive, though, and I applaud that. Lesbian, gay and bisexual New Zealanders need to insure the passage of comprehensive transgender rights legislation, as soon as possible. And BTW Paris, excellent article!

    4. James Campbell 31 Jan, 1:36am

      “Nor do I have anything in common with Intersex people,”

      How do you know?

  7. Erica Cook 24 Jan, 4:38am

    While I admire her for being so strong as to survive her childhood, I’ll say the thing those of us don’t say. No child should have to be that strong that young.

  8. Craig NZ 25 Jan, 9:56pm

    In New Zealand, our antidiscrimination Human Rights Act covers lesbian, gay and bisexual sexual orientations, but not gender identity (apart from a fragile Crown Law Office opinion). This is an unsatisfactory situation and I am deeply ashamed that for once, New Zealand is lagging so far behind Australia, given that it now has inclusive antidiscrimination laws at the federal, state and territory levels. And as far as I’m concerned, when we get to the stage of antibullying legislation or policy, gender identity must be included. Stonewall needs to open its focus and recognise that LGBT communities are just that, and support established groups like Press for Change, Trans Media Watch and others when it comes to transgender rights. Please, Stonewall, open dialogue immediately.

  9. Michael 26 Jan, 4:56pm

    The harsh truth is that the only people who will campaign effectively for and with commitment to trans people are trans people. Even if Stonewall were to take up trans issues, they would inevitably pursue those campaigns as “a favour” to trans people rather than because of personal engagement. That was the experience lesbians and gay men had until they broke away and started campaigning on their own behalves.

  10. I would also add the point to Paris’ article that Stonewall was named after the Stonewall Riots which included Trans* people in the protest and was instrumental in gaining rights for LGB people…it is shameful that Trans* people are not reflected in Stonewall’s campaigns as it is a part of LGB&T* history.

  11. Nobody should live like they have murdered someone or stolen from a bank.

  12. It’s embarrassing that many of us (LGB) are willing to abondon the T members of OUR community to the wolves. Seriously?! Like many others have said the bullies don’t make the disctinction so why are we? The trans community have fought for LGB people throughout history (the Stonewall riots for one) so we should fight for each other. We face the same inequalities & victimisation so we need to stand together to fight it where we see it.

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