Visibility, as is frequently said, is a double-edged sword. The increased ‘visibility’ of trans people - especially trans women - in our media and politics has reached a fever pitch that few of us could have imagined. The increased awareness of the existence of trans people hasn’t exactly been helpful, when it has mostly taken the form of a right-wing moral panic.
On this TDOV, when the vast majority of the country has woken up to the fresh horror of yet another cost-of-living hike, when scores of workers are striking or in industrial dispute, when ambulances take so long to arrive that people frequently die waiting, when COVID is still ravaging our public spaces and immune systems, when water companies openly pour sewage into our waterways; our government and leader of the opposition are going against decades of safeguarding policy and questioning whether kids coming out to their teachers should also be forcibly outed to their parents.
We have multiple, multiple crises that we all desperately need to have addressed - the cost of living, the collapse of the NHS, the climate crisis - but our leaders are instead questioning decades-old, working policies, just because they involve trans people.
This government, the media and the sycophants who fail to counter them, target trans people - and asylum seekers and refugees - because they have nothing left to offer the British public. Culture war politics, importing Trumpian demagoguery and concocting a moral panic against trans people is all they are willing to do. They will not address the multiple crises, both of their creation and not - they will only continue giving huge handouts to their friends directly from the public purse, and they will keep distracting from their abject failures and utter incompetence by smearing us.
We share this, not to take away from the very real dangers that this campaign has had on all of our lives. Even if we are being used merely to distract from other issues, that distraction has cost us dearly. We have all experienced a huge uptick in violence and harassment in the last few years, and at Hull Pledge, we have seen the very real effects this has had on people’s lives. From violent gangs targeting trans people, to those we’ve lost to suicide, to the death of Brianna Ghey. The campaign of hate has had victims up and down this country.
Despite the constant harassment campaign and moral panic against us, we all know that as easy as it is to whip up hatred against us, that same hatred easily shrinks in the light of reality. Numerous opinion polls show that for the vast majority of the British public, their attitude towards trans people starts with compassion. And based on survey information from @justlikeusuk, the thing that is most likely to affect a cis person’s opinion on transgender equality is whether they know us or not. Regardless of how ridiculous their lies are, they quickly shrink under any kind of actual scrutiny - like actually knowing a trans person.
But for the tiny and nasty minority who target us, we will not allow this unchecked spate of violence to continue. Currently at Hull Pledge, we’re campaigning for Humberside Police to undertake a casey-style review into its inner workings. Our survey has revealed an absolutely horrific scale of violence and hate crimes being perpetuated against trans people in this city, and Humberside Police’s own conviction rates for gender and sexual orientation hate crimes are appallingly low.
And as part of our mission for Hull to become a sanctuary city for LGBTQ people, we will continue to support the creation of a vibrant, dynamic queer community in Hull. One where we can all experience safety in the community. Whatever your interest, talent or hobby, we want to support you to find community through it. Whether that’s help setting up a club, finding a safe space to meet or accessing funding streams.
Because despite their hatred, we’re winning everywhere. In our city, the city of culture, trans and queer people are absolutely bursting with incredible talent and we see it everywhere. We have new queer clubs and social groups popping up all over, and queer and LGBTQI friendly places all over this city. We have more and more organisations like @Trans_Hull, art exhibitions from @humberstreetgalleries and @87_gallery starring trans artists, two LGBTQ+ plays coming out from @MiddleChildHull and the @samecircletheatre. And that’s just the beginning. Despite everything our community is going through, and living through right now, the culture that trans people create together is incredible.
We share this to remind all of us that we are not going anywhere, and regardless of the tactics, trans liberation will always win against hate. Our courage, our tenacity, our creativity and our stubborn authenticity is too vital and too beautiful to fail. Happy transgender day of visibility folks. Lots of love from all of us at Hull pledge.