Offensive to talk about LG without any T

In the afternoon it was Bev Jackson’s turn. MG is Michael Gibbon KC, Counsel for Mermaids.

MG: You say here, do LGBA sometimes avoid saying “trans” at all and you say yes because it often overshadows discussion of LGB rights. So we are left to deduce what LBGA thinks re trans from other things you say. Eg male bodied for transwomen. 

BJ: Yes we have to – unfortunate we have to say “male bodied”, some people would simply to prefer to say “men”. We are asked constantly why we had to form, why no trans, already lots of LGBT orgs. We have had to have position from the start.

In other words there’s been a lot of “how dare you start a new organization and especially one that’s not inclooooosive of trans people?!”

MG: We have to make deductions from absence of T in your name. From you not saying “trans” much.

BJ: Many many orgs worldwide started as LGB; we felt that was getting lost; it never occurred to us we’d have to deal re trans because LBG is getting lost. 

MG: Deliberate choice to exclude.

BJ: No this is wrong. There is no Q or + or anything else either in our name, only LGB. This is a group with its own needs.

It makes me hop up and down with rage, that kind of thing. People are allowed to talk and organize and campaign on lesbian and gay issues. It’s that simple. They’re allowed to do that. There is no law that says they can’t talk about that unless they also talk about trans issues. It’s grotesque and intrusive to call not talking about a different (and often hostile) group of people a “deliberate choice to exclude.” Women get to talk about women’s issues; that’s not a “deliberate choice to exclude,” it’s just talking about a particular subject.

MG: V offensive to LGB people who don’t share your GC views, and to trans people, to be called homophobes.

V offensive to LGB people who do share their GC views, and to trans people ditto, to be called transphobic.

Are we square? Are we square?

BJ: Need to say first, we support trans rights in Equality Act, protection from discrimination etc. We don’t accept that people can change sex. Some people may be offended, sure; we are offended that men can declare themselves lesbians. 

MG: You are calling LGB people homophobes. Very offensive.

BJ: I am Jewish and have been called anti-semitic. But we have to be able to tell the truth, and it seems to me that at present lesbians are more marginalised than trans people. 

Especially, I would say, male trans people. (I wonder what accounts for the difference, if there is such a difference. It’s a puzzle.)

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