I’m beyond disillusioned with party politics in the UK these days, so I approached the website of Lynne Featherstone, “MP for Hornsey and Wood Green since 2005” and now Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Equalities, with distinctly low expectations of her having anything useful to say on the subject of social justice and civil rights for TS/TG people. So it was a bit of a surprise to find her holding forth on her blog with a piece called Gender Identity and Human Rights.
Leaving aside her lack of clarity about whether the Equality Act 2010 will be amended to reflect the views of many in my community and her omission of non binary identified trans people – not to mention the complete erasure of intersex identities (why does that not surprise me?) – at least her message of support for the International Congress on Gender Identity and Human Rights, currently being held in Barcelona) recognises the existence of transphobia, if not its pervasiveness or severity.
The UK Government is totally committed to creating a society that is fair for everyone. We are committed to tackling prejudice and discrimination against transgender people at home and around the world.
The Government wishes the International Congress on Gender Identity and Human Rights every success when considering how to improve the rights of transgender individuals around the world and in tackling transphobia.
We need concerted government action to tear down barriers and help to build a fairer society for transgender people.
It’s a start, I suppose – a small step in the right direction – but quite frankly, it’s nowhere near enough to begin redressing the balance. I only hope that she, along with her boss (the famously homophobic Theresa May) and the rest of the motley crew of lawmakers now running the country will ramp up their efforts and treat this too-often neglected issue with the seriousness and urgency it deserves. Because what my community doesn’t need is yet another meaningless PR statement which will be forgotten as soon as it’s been published.