THE BLOG
25/07/2013 09:08 BST | Updated 24/09/2013 06:12 BST

Transphobia Is in the Dictionary

At the beginning of this year I started a petition on Change.org. The petition asked the Oxford English Dictionary and Microsoft Office to include the term "transphobia" in their dictionary lexicons.

The world satisfied the rigours submission criteria of the Oxford English Dictionary: it is in both current and widespread use, and there exists evidence of the term dating back for at least a decade. To me, the exclusion of 'transphobia' from the dictionary was unjustifiable and itself a little transphobic. I also petitioned Microsoft Office as their dictionary is in such widespread use and displays a visual form of rejection for the word: the infamous red worm.

It was only a matter of days and 1000 signatures into the petition when Microsoft Office said, "We agree and are adding 'transphobia' to the Microsoft Office Dictionary; look for it in the next dictionary update in May." I was delighted. Microsoft has continued to show their commitment to equality and for this I am truly grateful.

Despite an early victory, the intense campaigning continued for another six months. The Oxford English Dictionary had confirmed that they were considering the word, but did not provide any evidence as to whether or not it would eventually be included. It was not until we had achieved nearly 10,000 signatures that we heard any news on the petition's ultimate success. When the 2013 new editions list was published at the end of June I was delighted to see the addition of 'transphobia', among other trans related words, such as 'transwoman' and 'transman'.

I could not be more proud of each and every person who signed my petition and made this possible. The first step in tackling a problem is identifying it, and that is what this petition is about: We have officially defined and identified transphobia. It's not about accepting that transphobia takes place, but about identifying that there is a problem and tackling it.

Recently, we have seen great advancements in lesbian, gay and bisexual rights across the globe, but so often, in the fight for LGBT equality, the transgender community is left behind. Discrimination is still prevalent across the world and in 2012, on average, a transgender person was murdered every 72 hours. The horrendous prevalence of hate-motivated crime needs to stop.

People are people regardless of their gender identity or expression and it is a great victory that the terms that identify these people's life experiences are now recognized.

We must continue to advocate the rights of the transgender community at this time of civil progression and make sure that absolutely no one gets left behind in the discrimination of the past.

transphobia |ˌtransˈfəʊbɪə, trɑːns-,|

noun [ mass noun ]

intense dislike or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people.