Monday, 8 August 2022

They like us really

 Despite the noise and rage against trans people by small yet vocal and aggressive sections of certain political, religious and feminist persuasions, I feel most of the public are not hostile to trans people. Indifferent or puzzled in large part, certainly; yet we have enough allies to counter a lot of the aggression. 

It has become clear that the public have accepted that gay people exist and should not be discriminated against. Many recent referendums around the world on topics like gay marriage have received clear approval from the public, even in religiously conservative places like Ireland or the rural cantons of Switzerland. 

Although associating transgender rights with sexuality rights is incorrect from a social or biological point of view, it doesn't do us any harm to ride on the increasing success of the overarching LGBT movement. Anyone can see, for example, that banning conversion therapy for gay people in Britain can not be reconciled with maintaining it for trans people. A sense of fair play is one virtue the British do have. Furthermore, the insistence of some religions that trans people are just a variant of gay people works against them here, as well as showing up their ignorance, confusion and lack of touch with the present era.

Generally speaking, when out and about I have had more support than abuse from the public; online I have found transphobia to be fairly rare. Of course, I am very alert to the possibilities of its cropping up anywhere, especially with such a hate-driven family as mine, but it does seem to me that the number of people who are prepared to dedicate a significant proportion of their lives to causing trouble to us is pretty small. The trouble is intense, of course, and when someone is determined to hurt and harm then it is amazing what damage they can do. But on the whole people recognise injustice and the abuse of others for what it is. And the backlash against transphobia can be severe: this article on former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies' resistance to trans people in sport, for instance, makes clear that organisations and charities have been dropping her. And we know the resistance to J K Rowling's transphobia from actors who played in Harry Potter films.

Christine's comment last week was a good reminder of resistance in the Sixties and Seventies to the widening of rights for many people, including such 'minorities' as women, the decriminalising of homosexuality in many countries, greater rights for immigrants and native people, including decolonisation, and how certain groups frothed at the mouth at this. So there seems to be another wave of this resistance in the light of the fact that society has made more progress: gay people marrying, gay people adopting (and its being found that the kids they adopt do better in school than the kids of straight parents!), trans people of the 'wrong' sex having babies, trans people coming out in greater numbers because they are less scared to do so...

The target is trans people now because they are a far smaller group than women, black Americans or black South Africans, or gay people. Trying to resist the advances gay people have made over the last 50 years is too difficult now so a smaller minority needs scapegoating. It shows up the cowardice of these bullies, though, doesn't it? It's a disgrace that the overwhelming majority of trans people are still in the closet and will remain so for a long time as they are still scared. Since moving to Europe I haven't been outdoors yet and although Covid and moving house and damaged legs have been a factor in that, it is also the case that I am uncertain of my ground here.

I'm pleased to hear that many more Pride events have gone well over the last few weekends. Things have moved on a lot since the first such events fifty years ago, which were protests rather than festivals, and there is still clearly a need for the LGBT community to be seen and be supported. In big cities in particular, a lot of the straight/cisgender public enjoy the colour and spectacle and acknowledge the rights of the community and it's a fun day for all. And I am convinced, as those referendums show, that most people are tired of innocuous minorities like ours being attacked all the time. 

I thought I'd illustrate this with three photos of spontaneous fun with random members of the public who enjoyed the company of me and my friends on various occasions.


Be alert to and resist transphobia, but be aware also that most people support the underdog when some bully picks a fight. I think we'll come out stronger when this wave of hate has passed.

Sue x


  1. Thanks, Sue. I'm glad my comment was helpful.



    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Many thanks to you, Christine. You inspired a whole blog post! Sue xx

  2. What a fab post, Sue - and Christine 🙂

    I'd missed the Pink News article and having seen Davies quoted in The Guardian, I'm afraid my eyes glazed over, until I reached more informed reporting.

    Two things to take away from the Pink News article:
    1. You are free to share your opinion.
    2. You are not free of the consequences of sharing.

    1. Bum. I pressed the wrong button. 🤦‍♀️ The general public are, in general, an accepting bunch. Most people are kind and respectful in my limited experience. Some do want to talk or, as your photos show, get involved too, bless them

    2. Thanks, Lynn, I'm glad you liked this. Although under the cosh right now, I think we have more support than we know. Sue x

    3. I absolutely haven't just written a post for Friday, inspired by you, who was inspired by Christine 😁Gah, this has gone a bit too meta.

      On a different note, I think it was in a television programme about social media, in which the host spoke about the idea of shouty people and quiet people.

      The former dominant the platform, doing what shouty people do. However, in Baddiel's experience, there's more in acceptance and kindness from the quiet folk.

      Perhaps that could be said about the situation we trans folk find ourselves now.

    4. I look forward to your post, Lynn.

      We see how in, for instance, election polling, the projected result is skewed by people who are vocal in the beliefs they have and the outcome they expect, but time and again the quiet (or embarrassed) voters are the ones who make the difference. I think most people want a quiet. manageable life and are aware of the noisy, bullying types and don't support them, even though they don't speak out. I think we will be vindicated by majority public opinion, even if the noise against us is very loud at present. Sue x