As many people in the trans-o-sphere are aware, today Stonewall met with a group of trans professionals, campaigners and activists to discuss the possibilities of trans-inclusion within Stonewall.
Historically, Stonewall England have been very firm about not wanting to allow trans people a voice within their organisation. They have also actively excluded trans people who are L, G and/or B, and released training material that included uncontested transphobic slurs. Rather than simply ignoring trans people, Stonewall have actively harmed trans people.
This has not been well received by the trans community, especially given that Stonewall take their name from a riot started and fought by trans women of colour, a fight that is often credited as the catalyst for the beginning of the LGBT rights movement as we know it today.
Action for Trans Health are glad that Stonewall seem to want to put that behind them and we hope that, regardless of how relations between the trans community and Stonewall develop, this will be a turning point for Stonewall that indicates an end to their transphobic behaviour of years past.
We are also concerned that it might be that the trans community can do more for Stonewall than they can do for us: with trans people becoming increasingly visible, thanks to the work of out trans journalists, actors and presenters, such as Laverne Cox and Paris Lees, it seems that transphobia is going out of style, and that paying lip service to trans-inclusion might be a way for more conservative organisations to hike their popularity, especially among younger LGB people.
The attendees of today’s meeting are overwhelmingly white, binary-identified, middle-class, and adult. We believe that there can be no real trans-inclusion that does not listen to the voices of those most marginalised within our community, the voices of disabled trans people, trans people of colour, non-binary trans people, working class trans people, and young trans people. We believe that if Stonewall are truly committed to putting transphobia behind them, these will be the people they prioritise meeting with next.
We’d also like to see Stonewall review their diversity awards policy and stop giving diversity champion awards to organisations that actively harm LGBT people, and have policy to continue actively harming LGBT people, such as the Home Office and the DWP.
We hope that today’s discussions were fruitful and that future consultations are successful, and that Stonewall are really as committed to listening to trans voices as they claim to be. If so, they may yet become a useful and powerful ally in the fight for trans liberation.