I write this piece not to overspeak or cisplain the horrific attack on the Trans+ community which just occurred, but in the hopes that by sharing my experience it may amplify the many trans voices screaming against the dark, so that those who attempt to deny their voice will know that they are supported by the rest of the LGBT+ community.
Over the past few weeks I have become increasingly worried about a documentary which aired on BBC2 on Thursday the 12th, it purported to be a balanced documentary on transgender children. From various social media posts and conversations with my friends I very quickly realised it was going to be nothing of the sort. It was a thinly veiled assault upon clinicians who support a child centric affirmative approach to children who are questioning their gender identity or who are sure they are transgender.
I have over the last few days been dreading this programme, I vacillated between watching it and not watching it so to not give it credence. However I couldn't not watch it, I am a cisgender gay male ally of the Trans+ community, and to be an ally sometimes means that I have to go out of my way to leave my comfort zone to learn. Sometimes it's just talking, or standing beside a friend to lend my presence or my cis-white-maleness to their argument or protest as we live in a skewed society that will add value to something that I as a cis-white-male visibly and audibly support. I wish it wasn't like that but it is and I annoyingly can't fix it however much I try. So if I have an advantage my trans+ family don't I will do everything I can to use it to support them, and advocate for them in spaces that they can't get into or walking them home because it's late and the world can be a horrible place.
Tonight, being an ally meant I had to watch this vile venom on TV, on the BBC, a channel I pay £12.12 a month for the pleasure of watching. It was awful, I won't go into the arguments here. In my opinion there was no balance to it and it was biased towards the denial of trans+ children. It also seemed to scare mongered to a stupid degree the idea that once a child said they were trans a vampiric group of clinicians, therapists and trans activists would descend and never let the child change their mind, and force them to take puberty blockers, then hormones and make them have surgery, all of which couldn't be further from the truth. Young trans people I know have had to fight tooth and nail to prove their transness to get anything.
I came away from this TV show angry, appalled, outraged and deeply concerned for my trans+ family who I knew would be feeling this worse than me as aside from some crossfire regarding statistics around young males who initially presented as trans allegedly turned out to be gay instead it wasn't an attack on my identity. It was however a full broadside to my trans+ family. Thankfully they seem to be holding up ok, but as I type, calls to trans charities and helplines have increased and some of my more prominent trans friends are dealing with an increased volume of social media abuse all for the crime of proudly owning who they are as trans. More insidiously this program followed an awful piece on Newsnight on the 11th, many articles and opinion pieces attacking trans individuals, trans charities and parents who support their trans kids. This feeds into an "othering" of the trans community by the media and in society in general. Many of my trans friends have been opposing this, within the Pride committee, which I am chairperson of. It's a running joke that I am like momma bear protecting her cubs, but there's more truth than joke to that. If you are a friend of mine or a part of my community you are mine and I am protective of you; if I have to put myself in harm's way to keep you safe I will. The BBC just took a swipe at my family. This will not stand. While as an ally it will never be appropriate for me to lead your fight, It is more than appropriate for me to use my voice to amplify yours and to walk with you side by side, to hold you up when you are tired - and that is what I will do.