Society

Defend Trans people

09 March 2023
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By R Banks and Millie Collins

ON 11 FEBRUARY, 16 year old Brianna Ghey was brutally murdered, stabbed to death in Warrington Park by two 15 year olds. Brianna was transgender and had become a prominent representative of the young trans community on TikTok. 

Police took four days to declare that the murder ‘might’ be a hate crime, despite the fact that Brianna had been bullied in school for several years and had talked of suicide to her friends. Her death is yet another predictable consequence of the rise in anti-trans rhetoric from the government and media.

‘War on woke’

The transgender community is under assault. The deeply homophobic tropes of the 80s are resurfacing, targeting trans people; gay men preying on straight men in public baths has become trans women being perverted men using their trans identity as a way to sexually assault women.

Even with all the progress that has been made in the last 10 years with regards to LGTBQ+ representation and awareness, the trans community is still not safe.

The attacks are more than just rhetoric. The government’s striking down of the Scottish Gender Recognition Act, utilising anti-democratic powers which haven’t been used by any government since devolution, shows that this issue is a key aspect of their political agenda.

A new report by the European branch of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) says, ‘Attacks on LGBTI people with a conscious and deliberate will to kill and injure have increased to unprecedented levels.’ While the report talks generally about the effects of transphobia across Europe as a whole, it singles out Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak as politicians ‘weaponising trans rights’.

Assault

Home Office statistics highlight that transphobic hate crimes across England and Wales have risen by 56% year-on-year; homophobic hate crimes by 41%. Patriotic Alternative, Turning Point UK and other far right outfits have staged ‘protests’ against Drag Queen/King Story Hour, a reading group for children led by drag queens in an attempt to encourage LGBT inclusivity. Thugs wave placards with offensive slurs and hurl homophobic and transphobic slurs at children and their parents, supposedly in defence of the rights of women.

Fascist dross staged a similar attempt to disrupt a vigil held in honour of Brianna Ghey in Birmingham, though on this occasion and increasingly in defence of Drag Queen Story Time events far larger crowds have drowned out the haters (see picture).

Those so-called socialists who seek to justify transphobia on the basis of defending women’s rights need to remember that transgender people are the victims of crime, not the perpetrators. By denying trans people the right to live as the gender they choose, they can end up providing left cover for right wing attacks against the trans community. This concession to reaction has the result of dividing the working class along gender lines.

We demand that the Labour movement support the right of self-identification and the rights of transgender youth to transition. Socialists must be on the front line of the struggle to defend trans people against far right violence.

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