Response to Guardian Letter "Standing up for transsexual rights"
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On Friday the 4th of May, the Guardian published a letter from several trans people titled “Standing up for transsexual rights”. The letter is written to suggest that many trans people object to the changes to the Gender Recognition Act currently being reviewed, and includes several signatures.
I have written the following response to their letter, but in order to have an impact I need to collect signatures of my own from trans people opposed to their view point. Please sign if you are happy for your name (no other details) to be included with this letter to be sent to the Guardian next week. Note :- I am looking specifically for trans people to sign to illustrate how the letter writers represent a minority in our community, so while I am grateful of support from cis allies, please only sign if you are trans identified. Thanks
Letter is as follows :-
We, the undersigned, are deeply disappointed by the letter submitted to the Guardian by a small contingent of the trans community and published on the 4th May 2018. Using the largely disused term “transsexual” to describe themselves over the more inclusive and widely accepted “transgender”, they seek to distance themselves from members of our community who cannot or do not wish to have all aspects of stereotypical medical transition, and create an arbitrary division that supports their rights at the expense of other trans people. The letter implies that people identifying as transgender do not undergo meaningful transition, medical or otherwise, dismisses many as “sexual fetishists”, and erases the existence of trans men and non-binary people.
Recently, proposed amendments to the Gender Recognition Act that would extend legal rights to medically non-transitioning trans people and non-binary people have been rigorously attacked from across the political spectrum, leading to increased harassment of trans people and a greater sense of precariousness for many already marginalised within our society. In the light of this, we are saddened that a small number of people within the trans community would throw the most vulnerable “under the bus”, setting themselves up as gatekeepers as to whose identities and bodies should be viewed as legitimate, and echoing the same behaviours that have historically kept trans people excluded and dehumanised, in an attempt to make themselves appear more palatable to hostile elements within society,
There are many reasons why a trans person may not undergo medical transition. They may be physically unable to take hormones or have surgery for other, unrelated medical reasons, or be unable to access treatment due to discrimination, dangerously long NHS waiting lists, or social and financial constraints. Others make the choice not to undergo some or all of the physical aspects of transition, because of the risks of complications such as sexual dysfunction or the certainty of infertility, because they have been able to come to terms with their gender dysphoria through other means, because they find the medical options offered are not in-line with their personal gender identity, or because it simply isn't the right time in their lives to do so. None of these reasons are any more or less legitimate or meaningful than any other, just as no trans body is more or less legitimate than another.
At this time the trans community must stand in solidarity with all its members, irrespective of gender identity or medical history, and must resist external pressure to police one another's identities and bodies. To fail to advocate for the rights of all trans people is to fail the most vulnerable amongst us.
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