“Another real sadness about Gately's death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships”, (Jan Moir, The Daily Mail, 16th November 2009). An opinion piece that used the sudden death of Boyzone’s Stephen Gately to attack civil partnerships, and attracted 25,000 complaints to the Press Complaints Commission
“he's not only trapped in the wrong body, he's in the wrong job”, (Richard Littlejohn, The Daily Mail, 20th December 2012). An opinion piece about the transition of primary school teacher, Lucy Meadows, that the coroner claimed contributed to her suicide.
Given this kind of media opinion, one might assume that LGBT+ phobia was the preserve of The Daily Mail. Regrettably, it’s not even the preserve of the right wing press. On 13th January 2013, Julie Burchill wrote a piece for The Observer entitled “Transsexuals should cut it out”, that was so abhorrent the police recorded it as a hate incident. Neither should it be forgotten that the media group who originally broke the Lucy Meadows story was Trinity Mirror (parent company of The Daily Mirror).
How do I know all this? Because I reported the Julie Burchill piece to the police and was also an employee of Trinity Mirror.
After they made me redundant, I was an Equality & Diversity trainer for a while. One day, circa 2014, a lady in a class I was assisting on stated, “I don’t know why we’re doing this. Everything’s OK now.” I wasn’t particularly surprised by this statement. Given the rapid post-millennial change in UK legislation in favour of LGBT+ people, I suppose to most people, equality would indeed appear to be a solved problem. After all, even human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, concedes all major fights for LGBT+ equality have been won.
However, my reply then was to state that things may seem OK but they can soon change back again and I cited Berlin between the first and second World Wars as an example of when this had happened. These days, to my utter dismay, I could cite the UK as a far more recent example.
Whilst not yet following Donald Trump’s example in turning back hard won legislation, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the current UK government have seen fit to make a deal with the notoriously LGBT+ phobic DUP to remain in power. Nor should it be glossed over that, in the wake of the Brexit result, homophobic hate crimes rose by 147%. I also think it safe to assume that Trans people weren’t excluded from this surge in hate crimes, even if they were excluded from the news reports. After all, in last year’s international Trans Day of Remembrance, 295 trans and gender-diverse people were recorded as killed in 2016 alone. As not every country records the gender identity of the person killed, we believe the true figures to be higher.
So, with the intent of providing a ‘current state of play’, in this blog I shall be recalling the legislation that helped drive the UK towards LGBT+ equality this millennium, and relating it to media reportage and my life as someone who came out as a gay man in December 1999 and then as Trans in the summer of 2009.
Some terminology used in this post:
Hate Crime Crime against person(s) for no perceived reason other than hatred
LGBT+ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans plus all other non-heterosexual and non-cisgender people
Cisgender Those whose gender identity matches the gender they were assigned at birth
Trans Those whose gender identity doesn’t match the gender they were assigned at birth plus persons, such as crossdressers and transvestites, who may wish to be associated with them
Crossdresser Person who wears clothes not conventionally associated with their own gender identity but may not necessarily wish to appear as a person with a gender identity opposite to their own
Transvestite Person who dresses so as to appear - but not necessarily identifies - as a person with a gender identity opposite to their own for any period of time but not typically 24/7
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 15:56
Blog IntroWritten by Cornish Claire
Published in Aug-Oct-2017