Article By Mina Cousins
Earlier this year, a girl from Warrington was violently killed by two people, in a way that can very much be considered a hate crime. That girl's name is Brianna Ghey (https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/feb/15/brianna-ghey-two-teenagers-charged-murder).
She was trans, and it's believed that was in part a motivating factor in her being killed. She is considered the first known trans person in England to be murdered in over a decade. Following from this, violent attacks against trans people, and other LGBTIQA+ people in general, have happened throughout the year, from an arson attack on two trans women and a gay man[i], to stabbings in Clapham[ii] and attacks on queer businesses in Manchester[iii], not to mention the ongoing intimidating protests and violence from fascists towards gender nonconforming people and Drag Queen Story Times[iv].
Brianna, as she didn't have a Gender Recognition Certificate, is buried officially under her deadname, as in her death certificate has her deadname on it and is written with male pronouns like 'he' and 'him'. There was a petition to change this, at the very least for her, but the government declined. The Times, a right wing newspaper increasingly known for its transphobic output, even used her deadname a few days after her murder. The news of her murder was reported internationally, our government and main opposition party, often quick to comment on news like this, were silent. In the months following, our government and main opposition party have contributed even more to the demonisation of trans people, which has led to an increase in anti-LGBTIQA+ violence across the UK. Part of me wished, desperately, that her murder would bring about a pause, a silencing of transphobes to make them realise what they were doing. This didn't happen.
The number globally for trans people killed is 392[v].
This figure only paints part of what's happening: it doesn't account for those in an abusive household- forced to detransition or worse.
It can never take full account of those who committed suicide, from losing all faith in transitioning because of being denied healthcare to intense harrassment and bullying. I write this article, actually, when a trans kid (14 years old) committed suicide because of harrassment, as well as hearing of a trans woman in Manchester doing the same. On the former, his mother posted about this online, and became the subject of harassment herself.
This is Britain today. It's not the fault, as many transphobes like to claim, of 'radical members of the trans community' (unless radical is wanting better healthcare), in the same way misogyny is not the fault of 'noisy feminists'.
It can be worse though. Without wanting to reduce trans people in places like Florida to an oblique warning, the effective ban on transness in states like that are meant to reduce the population of trans people to zero. It is terrifying then that our government has been having conversations about this with the Governor of Florida.
It's striking on one level that we are in this state- only 6 years ago was the promise of reform to the Gender Recognition Act and a full ban on conversion therapy on the agenda of a Conservative government. Not that everything was perfect in 2017- far from it- for most people, but the shift since 2020 towards engaging in (rather than just benefiting from) culture wars, from race to gender to the climate, is terrifying.
As well, we have a Labour party complicit with this culture war, unwilling, not unable, to challenge this. Willing, then, to allow for the continued oppression of all marginalised groups in order to win a few hundred more votes.
I remember, when helping promote LGBTIQA+ candidates this year, a few times being asked by some trans candidates for local elections to ensure they weren't called a 'trans candidate', but rather an 'LGBTIQA+ candidate'. In some cases too, this was without any prompting- I hadn't even mentioned the word 'trans' aside from the acronym.
What this says is that it is incredibly hard and difficult to be trans and run for elected office, not entirely because of electability, but because of the threat to safety. It isn't safe to be a trans person existing in Britain, let alone being an election candidate.
More needs to be done to address the safety of trans and all LGBTIQA+ people in public, daily life, yet this is something regarded as 'woke' (used in the pejorative) by the Home Secretary.
It is important to remember joy. There was joy, for instance, earlier this year at Trans Pride in London. It was also my first ever Pride, coincidentally. There was pride, joy and a sense of belonging. LGBTIQA+ Greens were also the only major political party LGBT+ group to actually attend.
As well this year, we saw more trans and non-binary people elected as councillors, including people elected as Green councillors.
Considering you're reading this article, I presume you agree you find all this as amazing as I do, and the political weight Trans Pride has is not to be downplayed. But on its own, joy and ideals don't achieve liberation, or even a slightly more tolerable world long term. It's one of the reasons, besides the fact that everyone who died who is trans deserves to be remembered (because they may not have someone to remember them), why Trans Day of Remembrance is important: to remind you of what we are fighting to stop. To stop another forced detransition, another suicide, another murder.
Instead, trans people need a world that supports their need to transition and can provide the healthcare to do that. We can only have that in a world of social and climate justice, that's why LGBTIQA+ liberation and climate justice go hand in hand.
We must never, ever stop in our campaign for a safer, better world- a liberated world- and we must continue this cause, always.