Looking on the pages of national newspapers, or at online headlines from many mainstream media sources, you'd be forgiven for thinking trans people were the enemy of society. Time and time again we are presented with inflammatory rhetoric that all members of the trans community are simply going out of their way to sexually assault women, or seek attention. It's complete and utter rubbish, and that's why this Trans Remembrance Day (November 20), we're joining the fight against that language and saying enough is enough.
A recent report from Stonewall which polled over 5,000 LGBT people in Britain, found that 40% of trans people had experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the past 12 months (at the time of polling) alone. They further discovered that of those hate crimes and incidents, 80% go unreported, with younger LGBT people particularly reluctant to speak to the police.
There was even the shocking statistic that one in eight trans people have been physically attacked by their colleagues or customers in their place of work. If a trans person cannot go to work and feel safe, then are we really a country that should be proud of our LGBT record?
We have an epidemic of abuse against trans people in the UK, and it's something we need to confront if we're hoping to ever achieve complete equality. It says something when a trans woman was granted permission to stay in New Zealand on the grounds that it was safer for her there than her home country of the UK. The very fact that she says she had received no abuse since arriving in the country since 2009 proves that it is possible to deliver on the promise of equality for trans people; we just have to fight harder for it.
With a quarter of trans people experiencing domestic abuse whilst in a relationship, and a third of trans people discriminated against when visiting a restaurant, bar or café, is it any wonder the statistics reflecting attempts of suicide in young trans people (48%) are so high when it comes to the trans community?
Not only this, but trans people are literally being murdered because of their gender identity. Is that something we can stand idly by and watch happen?
We must all come together and demand a better world, where any trans person is free and comfortable enough to live the life they were born to live. Trans people have enough internal hardship to deal with, without having to fear for their safety every time they leave the confines of their own home (and sometimes even when they're in that very place).
So how can we be better allies to our trans brothers and sisters? This fantastic two-minute video from Pink News gives us a few pointers:
The media across the world has a responsibility to stop fanning the flames of prejudice when it comes to minority groups such as the trans community, and to step back and realise that all of us, regardless of our gender identity, have a right to live freely and as equally as anybody else.
There's a long road ahead for the trans community, and the LGBT+ community as a whole, and whilst we should be happy with some of the progress made in certain areas, we cannot rest on our laurels until every single person under the LGBT+ umbrella is given equal and fair opportunity. Fight for the future generations, and for the world you would have loved to have been a part of, and we will surely make it there eventually.