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UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charities unite in powerful call to protect trans lives

Emma Powys Maurice July 13, 2021
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HIV

A red HIV ribbon worn on World AIDS Day in Kathmandu, Nepal (Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto/Getty)

A coalition of the UK’s 12 leading HIV and sexual health charities have united in a joint statement expressing their shared support for trans rights.

The Terrence Higgins Trust, National AIDS Trust, LGBT Hero, Positively UK and George House Trust are among the groups named in the statement, shared on Tuesday (13 July).

All underscored their “absolute commitment to supporting the rights of our trans, non-binary, and gender diverse communities”, highlighting their shared struggle in tackling HIV.

“There is a long history of commitment and mutual support between gender and sexual minorities facing shared struggles,” they began.

“Just as trans people have been central to the battle for LGBTQ equality, they have been key players in the fight against HIV. We will be better equipped to meet the challenge of ending HIV by 2030 by standing together.

“Despite remarkable progress overall in reducing HIV infection, our trans communities experience high levels of HIV and poor sexual health. Discrimination and marginalisation of trans people exacerbate these and other health inequalities.”

Transphobes use ‘same tactics’ as those who target HIV-positive people

The groups go on to condemn the attacks against trans people online, in media and in person as “unacceptable,” pointing out that much of the transphobic rhetoric we see today mirrors the discriminatory tactics used against HIV-positive people in the past.

“Trans people commonly experience abuse from those who organise against trans inclusion, which often includes misinformation that paints trans people as predatory, deceptive, and immoral. These are the same tactics that have previously been used to target people living with HIV,” they said.

“It has now been 40 years since the first cases of HIV were reported. For the last four decades, trans people have been among the leading voices in the response to HIV – within and through our organisations and beyond – demanding change from governments that dragged their heels and speaking truth to power.”

The powerful statement ends in a call to action that clearly underlines the need for for intersectionality in campaigning for human rights.

“Demanding action on HIV means attending to the intersecting needs of everyone. It means standing together against discrimination and attacks on human rights,” they state.

“We continue to stand together with our trans friends, colleagues, and service users, today and always.”

A full copy of the statement and its signatories can be viewed here.

Related topics: HIV, Trans

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