The Secretary of State for Women’s and Equalities Justine Greening has announced that there will be a consultation on a piece of legislation that would significantly change the legal status of transgender people in British society. The government have also announced a change to the rules regarding blood donation that will benefit gay and bisexual men. These measures are important and should be welcomed, however that should not mean that pressure on the government should be alleviated. Additionally, some aspects of society are still hostile towards the very idea of transgender equality and conversations need to be had so that so that our fellow citizens feel welcome in society.
The BBC’s Sunday Morning Live is a topical debate show that discusses moral issues on broad number of topics. They often include ethical issues around healthcare, civil liberties, and dominant news stories of the day. Last weekend the panel of guests were faced with a number of interesting topics and the most interesting of these, in my view, was the following question: is there enough understanding of transgender issues? As the discussion progressed I found myself getting slightly enraged at the neutrality that BBC has to show because in my mind the answer was so clearly obvious. So let me elaborate.
With transgender issues becoming better known in the public consciousness, it is necessary to look at ways to fundamentally reform society in a way that is consistent with our enhanced knowledge. The international gay rights movement has changed the way that we think about sexuality and society adjusted accordingly, albeit it at a slower rate than many of us would like. With gender now understood in less definite and binary terms, we need to make a conscious effort to reform our attitudes, institutions, and procedures. This piece shall suggest five ways in which society can be improved in this regard.
The increased acceptance of the LGBT community around the world is the major civil rights movement of our time and although more and more countries are legalising same-sex marriage the battle is far from being won. Despite these gains the transgender community still suffers from discrimination as a result of ignorance, bigotry and deliberate misinformation from some right-wing groups. What I would like to discuss is the concept of a ‘transgender ally’ and how, in spite of my support for the growing acceptance of the transgender community, I am not a transgender ally, at least not yet.