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Liz Truss and the effect on trans people's lives.

When Liz truss announced to a government select comittee taking forward the proposals to simplify the gender recognition process for trans people, we heard a complete u-turn. Instead of recieving reassurances that we would not have to go through such an ordeal as: making our lives up for judgement by procuring mounds of evidence to a panel of strangers, without recourse to appeal; she did the exact opposite. In her opening statement she said: "First of all the protection of single sex spaces, which is extremely important"

To the untrained eye, one would have thought such a statement innocuous and obvious, however this turns a blind eye to the actual struggles, fought for decades by trans people to be legally recognised as the sex they are. The use of the term "sex" rather than "gender" is deliberate, and used to by anti-trans antivists who believe that sex is both binary and unchangeable. Its meaning is used to segregate trans people from cisgender people, a segregation which would have dire consequences on the lives and safety of trans people; and its intent: to create an apartheid system between cis and trans people. It has come in the face of years of oppression from the British media and conservative press, where falsehoods abound unchallenged - about detransitioners, a pounding of of both the medical and voluntary support establishments for supporting trans people's physical transition, and attacks on services for trans youth. The truth of this matter is that fewer people, by a factor of 20-30 times, regret trans treatments and surgery, than any other elective surgery. Fewer than 1 in 300 adults who present to the GIC actually suddenly realise they are cisgender, and the amount of surgeries in the world which are reversed, as low as 0.02%. However, anti trans activists and conservatives in the country don't let actual facts get in the way of implementing oppressive policymaking. Cross party support for draconian measures against trans people from MP's across all party lines have caused huge fractures over trans issues. The labour party having to form working groups to challenge sex essentialists, the SNP having members coming out with anti trans "concerns" despite a very strong support for trans people living in Scotland, and now we see the conservative party with MP's supporting anti-trans views and sentiments. The liberal democrats, themselves being targetted for having a trans MP, whose relative was involved in horrific abuse. How this has come to pass has mostly been a process stoked by the media, and the web. Mumsnet, a known hotbed of transphobia, has continued to stoke fear in the hearts of parents and families about trans people. Mainstream feminism was used as a vehicle to spread panic and fear, with pictures of very visibly "trans" people being used to strike fear in the hearts of many, and prisoners used as exemplars for the dangers of supposedly trans women gaining access to "safe spaces". Of course, nothing so obvious as prisoners pretending to be trans for an easy ride (they are criminals, after all), sprung into the minds or formed part of these "concerns". However, the majority of this fearmongering is specious, speculative, and not scientifically sound, fair or indeed, just.

As trans people, we spend an inordinate amount of time challenging such arguments. If, for example, one trans person was found to be a sex offender, it's suddenly a case that we're all sex offenders and perverts until we prove we aren't. However, when a cis person of whichever sex is convicted, it is either swept under the carpet as "oh that's men for you", or "oh she must have been made to do it". It's very easy for majority groups to paint minority groups as an homogenous entity, rather than a collection of individuals. Such processes have been given names - transphobia, sexism, xenophobia, racism. Such errors of judgement have lead to extreme measures by govenments worldwide, and have resulted in such things as the black/white divide in America, to human atrocities across the world and across many differnent cultures.

As trans people, we are under constant pressure to disprove these issues as they appear. It's like "whack-a-mole", we are expected to have mounds of scientific evidence against a specious and speculative claim by the ruling classes. Over the last 3 years, however, we have become swamped. Many trans writers and authors having to bolt down the hatches becuase it created such a toll on ones mental health to constantly challenge such claims. We, as trans people, have been failed by the UK, we've had little to no support from anti-hate laws which were meant to protect us because people are convinced that their rights to "freedom of speech" are innocuous. That "legitimate concerns" arise based on block prejudice because one trans person seems to be the root of all ills in the country.

So when Liz Truss mentions protecting single sex spaces, what is read by trans people is: the exclusion of trans people from single sex spaces. We know this to be the case. For working women like myself, this would mean being ejected from my changing room at work. It would also mean ejection from every public space. Everyone around me would notice and realise that I was trans and then I would be subjected to the terrors of the stares and looks of the cisgender majority. It would make me a social pariah. I'm not alone in my concerns. At transiness, many people expressed similar concerns. Many are making plans to move out of the UK to live in the EU - where, at least, there are some legal protections still remaining. We're waiting until "summer" to hear our fate. It's terrifying. Many are scrambling to get themselves a gender recognition certificate - in the vain hopes that it might afford some kind of protection. However, with additional "checks and balances" proposed, who knows what our fate might be. We know that the government is on the side of sex-essentialists who do not recognise us as who we are. We live in fear of our lives and livelihoods. Many of us have already lost our friends and familes to build new lives post transition, and we are facing doing this all over again. It's a huge challenge, but as we have proven over the years, one cannot simply legislate away trans people. We are a naturally occuring diversity across the world. We won't just go away.

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