It’s hard work writing this blog you know. I do a lot of research. And so it cut me to the bone to read this:
It’s a 500 word blog about cooking, and eating -– a Sainsbury’s ready-made dessert “great if you have a sweet tooth”. Do people read this? Admittedly it’s handy if you lose the packaging and want the microwave-time. Add to this the hundreds of blogs (and thousands of comments) on Strictly Come Dancing, or Keisha leaving the Sugababes and I surrender to despair. Don’t even whisper ‘Jedward’ to me.
OK, OK, I do remember 2004. Back then I’d have given a blank stare upon hearing the words Gender-Recognition-Certificate, but could easily have repeated the order in which Big Brother housemates were evicted. Many people don’t sit down and say “hey, have you heard about the huge thing potentially affecting your life and mine?” No, they say, “Hey, did you know Paris Hilton’s got a new handbag?”
Nevertheless there’s a worrying quietness around the upcoming Equality Bill. True, Press For Change (who lobby for the rights of trans people under UK law) have criticised the Government on this issue, not least for the fact that the The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) board doesn’t even include a trans person, despite several qualified people applying. And good old facebook got a pressure group together (http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=180071242437) whilst equally good old Peter Tatchell kicked up a fuss in the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/dec/02/equality-bill). Yet still something is lacking.
In contrast, our politically-zealous American cousins who are currently filling up the blogosphere with endless and noisy discussion about their gestational Employment Non-Discrimination Act, (type ENDA into Google and you’ll get the picture). The USA needs ENDA. A 17 years-old girl is suing McDonalds for twice refusing to interview her, and leaving (inaccurate to say the least) homophobic slurs on her answer machine – “we don’t hire faggots”. Yeah, God hates them too apparently.
The thing is, ENDA’s been floating around for over 15 years, yet protections to trans people haven’t always been included. Where North America treads, so we follow. The Equality Bill, supposed to make everyone equally protected under the law, but actually does the opposite. Rather missing the point, it creates a two-tier system of ‘equality’, which excludes LGBT people from the anti-harassment clauses yet protects includes women, black, elderly and disabled people.
But sometimes we copy something from the US worth emulating. Transgender job fairs are nothing new in sunny California, but this is a British first:
I’ll say it again: well done NHS. The story is comforting for one always hopes medical professionals understand transgenderism. If they don’t, who does? (Not my nurse. Last time she asked what my check up was about, so I explained I was transsexual and receiving HRT. Her response? “What’s a transsexual… you mean like a transvestite?”)
Finally I’d like to thank the author of this blog:
For sticking up for us at GT. Cheers!
Right, I’m off. To write a highly popular blog on Sainsbury’s treacle sponge puddings.
(The views expressed within this blog are those of the author, and may not reflect those of the Gender Trust)
Off To Work We Go