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Emma Thompson signs open letter supporting transgender women

Patrick Kelleher March 4, 2019
Emma Thompson signs open letter supporting transgender women

Rich Polk/Getty

Emma Thompson has signed an open letter which supports transgender women and hits out at those trying to “roll back” their rights.

The letter – which was signed by over 70 women and was published yesterday in Scottish newspaper The Herald – called the debate around transgender rights “narrow and archaic” and said it was not an issue of “freedom of speech.”

“Both sides have a plethora of platforms to outline their position,” the letter said. “However, it is imperative that these platforms should not be used to spread misinformation or misrepresent the law or the facts in this area.”

“Trans people continue to face unlawful discrimination and violence. Routine misinformation and sensationalism is contributing to a cultural climate where this is legitimised. This has to stop.”

– Open letter in support of transgender women

The letter was signed by celebrities, politicians and women’s rights activists, and was written in response to the Scottish government’s pledge to reform the Gender Recognition Act to make it more accessible to transgender people.

Debate that has emerged around reform of the Gender Recognition Act has become increasingly toxic as anti-trans campaigners have attempted to undermine transgender rights.

The letter said that anti-trans views are not “representative of the women of Scotland.”

Letter signed by Emma Thompson says anti-trans arguments are ‘nothing new’

“Trans people have played an integral role in every civil rights movement to date; from LGBT equality to women’s causes,” the letter continued.

“Attempts to airbrush trans people from conversations regarding equality and human rights, or to exclude them from advancements for LGBT and women’s rights, have happened before.

“Such efforts may have re-energised, but they are nothing new, and we say as a collective of women: they are not representative of us. We support trans rights.”

Emma Thompson signs open letter supporting transgender women
Rich Fury/Getty

“We believe that national conversations about gender-based discrimination and violence are necessary, however these conversations should not in any way attempt to roll back the rights that trans people already have in Scotland, nor spread misinformation.

“Outlets and commentators have an ethical responsibility to consider the impact of their reportage, analysis and commentary particularly on the mental health of trans young people. Recently, data from Stonewall Scotland revealed that over half of trans people considered ending their lives last year.

“Attempts to airbrush trans people from conversations regarding equality and human rights, or to exclude them from advancements for LGBT and women’s rights, have happened before.”

– Open letter in support of trans women

“Trans people continue to face unlawful discrimination and violence. Routine misinformation and sensationalism is contributing to a cultural climate where this is legitimised. This has to stop.”

The letter was organised by Rhiannon Spear, SNP councillor in Glasgow. Spear is also chairwoman of the Time for Inclusive Education campaign.

Self-identification for transgender people

In November, it was revealed that the majority of people involved in the Scottish government’s consultation on the Gender Recognition Act supported self-identification.

60 percent of people backed “a self-declaratory system for legal gender recognition” that would eliminate requirements for transgender people to obtain medical evidence, with 39 percent opposed.

“If people who have spoken out – like me – do not take this sort of stand then things are very unlikely to change at anything like the pace required to protect my daughter’s generation.”

– Emma Thompson

Last week, Emma Thompson made headlines after she pulled out of her role in upcoming animated film Luck after John Lasseter was appointed the head of Skydance media, the production company making the film.

Lasseter left Pixar last year after he was accused of sexual misconduct.

In an open letter last week, Emma Thompson outlined how she could not continue her role on the film with Lasseter involved in the production company.

“If people who have spoken out – like me – do not take this sort of stand then things are very unlikely to change at anything like the pace required to protect my daughter’s generation,” she said.

More: emma thompson, gender recognition act, letter, Scotland, Scotland, self identification, trans women, transgender rights

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