One of our trustees, Anna, explains why media hostility is nothing new for many trans people on the margins of society.
This IDAHoBiT 2019 Mermaids pledge as a charity to continue to support all transgender, non binary and gender questioning children and young people, and their families.
No matter how hard, no matter the backlash, and ignoring the negative comments - because trans lives matter, especially the lives of those who are so often ignored and discounted because of their age.
One of our Mermaids trustees wrote their thoughts on why support for trans people is still so very much needed in 2019.....
Just reflecting as IDAHoBiT (international day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia) is recognised on 17th May, that gender incongruence was only declassified as a disorder of mental health in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) by the World Health Organisation on 18th June last year, 2018... LAST YEAR!
Homosexuality was removed from the ICD in 1999, which prompted IDAHo, the International Day Against Homophobia which has since grown into IDAHoBiT.
I think this highlights just how far behind in the movement towards social awareness, understanding and acceptance trans including non-binary children, young people and adults are when it's tempting to think about LGBT+ people as one homogeneous group and that equal marriage solved everything.
This has felt particularly apparent in the context of an increasingly fevered mainstream and social media backlash against legal recognition and equality for trans including non-binary people in UK law. Some even refuse to accept trans children and young people exist! It's all very redolent of the rabid homophobia of the 1980s that lead to Section 28 of the Local Government Act, a wicked and shameful piece of legislation.
A few years ago the media coined the phrase "The Trans Tipping Point" as visibilty grew (Laverne Cox in "Orange is the New Black", for example). Since then, it feels like there's been an organised backlash by reactionary cranks opposed to trans people and our human rights. This makes the world feel like a hostile place, in a way that maybe it wasn't before, particularly for trans people with social privilege.
However, for trans including non-binary people with less social privilege and more intersections of identity, with multiple socially stigmatized characteristics, there is no new backlash. What many activists are calling a backlash is how life has been for many trans people fighting to survive at the very margins of society all the time.
Maybe the shock of the anti-trans backlash by some news media publications and anti-trans activist groups and the distress of the hostile media onslaught is mostly a white, middle-class phenomenon as our privilege no longer provides as much insulation from the impact of feeling socially stigmatized and marginalised?
To a young, homeless, trans person of colour the media backlash makes no difference. Life has always been a fight, pushed to the margins of existence.