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Readers' Letters

Editor's comment: It's time to speak up for trans people

PUBLISHED: 15:00 11 July 2018

The Hackney community and council staff march at Pride. Picture: HACKNEY COUNCIL

The Hackney community and council staff march at Pride. Picture: HACKNEY COUNCIL

Archant

I went to my first ever Pride on Saturday - quite how I managed to get to 30 as a gay man in London without having done so before is a bit of a mystery, but I always was boring.

In some ways, we’ve come a long way since section 28, that divisive and stupid law that banned schools from giving people like me any sex education. And in other ways we are still backward.

You’ll have read this week that Hackney has one of the highest rates of hate crime of any London borough. That should give food for thought to anyone who questions why Hackney needs to be part of a Pride parade when it has leaks to fix and roads to pave and houses to build. Coming out in support of minority groups isn’t some abstract point-scoring exercise: it is people in power sending a message that they have the backs of people whose rights are still being denied by others.

But gay people aren’t the primary victims of hate crime. And we as a group, who know more than some but less than others what it means when society is set up to favour other people, should be helping lead the charge againt all forms of discrimination. So long as some are treated differently because of race or gender or class, equality is a lie. If the Windrush scandal can happen in 2018, we shouldn’t be lulled by the existence of gay marriage into thinking that we have won any more rights than is politically expedient.

A group of boorish transphobic protesters gatecrashed Pride this year with a vile message about transgender people I won’t repeat. In London. In 2018. So in the spirit of Hackney Council’s involvement in the parade, I’d like to make it absolutely clear transphobia has zero place in this newspaper. If we see or hear anti-trans comments or policies, we’re going to be calling them out just like we would racist or homophobic or sexist ones. We have your backs.

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