Injustice. Human rights. Inequality.
In July 1848, the women of New York launched the cry "Votes for Women."
They did so because, quite simply, it was wrong that men had the sole right to vote in elections. Women were "second-class" citizens. Non-entities.
It took another fifty-five years before Emmeline Pankhurst launched the suffrage movement in the UK. She was frustrated at the lack of progress in achieving votes for women and founded the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). That was a full 118 years ago, back in 1903. The WSPU had a motto, too - "Deeds not Words".
The fight to achieve the fundamental human right to vote had a cost.
Emily Davison gave her life; women were imprisoned, beaten and force-fed, but those early suffragettes never gave up the fight because they strongly believed in human rights.
Skip forward to 2021. I strongly believe in human rights too.
I will always fight injustice, and of course, many others do so too.
One human right is to change sex.
This personal journey comes at a very high cost too - changing sex is one of the most difficult in humanity.
Some, perhaps many, believe that biologically human beings can't change sex. That, however, is secondary to a legal human right.
None of us can change the colour of our skin, perhaps be born with one arm, perhaps be born with the wrong genitals to fit our true identity.
We all want to have the perfect body, we all want to be the "right" sex, but nature being nature (or is it plane human diversity), things dont always pan out perfectly.
Recognising the human right to change sex legally is not new in the UK; the law recognising this right goes back to 2004 - The Gender Recognition Act (GRA). In 2004, many thought the Act was ahead of its time, but this proved to be untrue, with an estimated 1% of transgender people achieving legal gender recognition. Just 5000 people have changed their legal gender in the UK over a 17 year period - that is far less than one person a day. In a country of 65 million people, that figure is peanuts.
How do you defend an Act that works for just 1% of a community - the trans community - who already suffer discrimination in employment, healthcare and even the right to walk in our streets without suffering abuse and potential physical attack?
The reasons the Gender Recognition Act don't work are pretty obvious, the GRA is full of conditions, caveats, costs.
The three C's.
Get through the many hurdles of the three C's, and trans people get awarded a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). In reality, it dont do that much, it changes a birth certificate (not retrospectively), allow the trans person to get married, die in dignity.
One organisation that claims to support human rights is FiLiA.
They say so in the written evidence presented to the Womens & Equalities Committee - I will use their exact words here:
In 2015 FiLiA was granted charitable status for the purposes of promoting equality and diversity, promoting human rights, and promoting the arts.
Sadly though, the evidence that they have contributed to GRA reform leaves many trans people upset, frustrated and downright angry.
Equality? Diversity? Human Rights? or sex-based rights?
And if it is sex-based rights should that not have been included in that submission?
Pick your potatoe.
So when FiLiA hold a conference in my home city of Portsmouth, do they really expect me to keep silent?
Promoting human rights?
The gender war, the result of a Tory government, reneging on a promise to make the GRA kinder for trans people, is indeed toxic.
This is largely caused by some organisations conflating GRA reform with the rights given in the Equality Act.
The Women's Social and Political Union indeed had that motto "Deeds, not Words" - very apt.
Trans rights are human rights!
I and other trans people are human beings.
When is FiLiA going to promote our human rights?
Authored by Steph @PlaceSteph