Strange things have been happening this week. Firstly, I’ve gone all Carrie Bradshaw in my search for ‘topical question titles’ for the Gender Trust Blog (not to mention having New York style steps leading up to my new apartment). I’ve also, rather worryingly, found myself reading preposterous columns in the Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1206415/And-thought-WPCs-burqas-ridiculous.html
Richard Littlejohn’s proud-ignorance of trans and intersex people (“whatever the hell they are”) in his polemic against the National Trans Police Association may lead you to conclude that he’s a bigot. But you’d be wrong:
“For the record, I have no more objection to transvestites forming a club than I do to philatelic societies. But it should be done in their own time and not at public expense.”
Whether stamp-collecting is more socially acceptable than cross-dressing is arguable, but the issue of funding isn’t. On Saturday I met a member of the National Trans Police Association who informs me that the NTPA receives no more than £50 of funding a year – the same as any other police society. But anyway, don’t Tran’s people pay taxes too? Are we not entitled to any back?
Clearly Littlejohn spent more time on doodling the hairy-legged transvestite policeman which illustrates the ‘article’ than he did on any journalistic research. But that’s bullies for you.
So, where does it all end?
In rapists being sent to women’s prisons, apparently. In one of the biggest PR disasters for the Trans community since Silence of the Lambs, a transsexual woman has this week won a high court ruling to be transferred to a women’s prison. Such a ruling would always have been newsworthy but the fact that Prisoner ‘A’ (or, if you work for The Sun, ‘Tranny’) has been convicted of both manslaughter and attempted rape multiplies this by about 1000%. (Meanwhile the press, save the Pink News, continue to ignore the trial of a man, Kiron Singh Chand, accused of raping of a transwoman in Wales). Thus the hatred we face is overlooked whilst the deeply unfair stereotype of trans-people as sexual perverts is perpetuated.
Of course, the world’s-gone-mad-with-political-correctness-brigade had a field day over this, but legitimate questions arise. How, for example, did Prisoner A manage to receive a Gender Recognition Certificate whilst serving a previous sentence as a man, in a male prison? And what are the deeper implications? It’s hard to know how to feel about this landmark judgment, and the contradictions it exposes.
So it’s quite nice to know that someone’s got our back in the Trans community (if not our preferred set of genitalia too), as evidenced by Thomas Hammarberg’s article in the Guardian (05/09/09), calling for better rights for transgendered people:
Hammarberg is the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, so he’s a good person to have on side, especially since most of the protections we now ‘enjoy’ under the law were pushed through in Europe. Indeed, we may need to rely upon Europe even more in future, if we are to get legislation like the Equality Bill through.
But we’re getting there.
The views expressed within this blog belong to the author and are not neccessaruily those of The Gender Trust.