Am I missing something, or is this idea incredibly, dangerously bad?
Labour’s LGBT+ advisor calls for UK-wide ‘safe spaces’ for transgender people
Mr Watson wants Ministers to give Local Authorities the powers to outline special zones for transgender people so they can socialise safely with family, friends and the wider LGBT+ community.
I’m hoping that something has become horrendously garbled between meeting and press release, and that the call is for councils to fund safe meeting places and organisations such as the excellent LGBT Health & Wellbeing. But I doubt it.
“I’m urging the Government to devolve powers to Mayors and Local Authorities across Britain so they can designate safe spaces for trans people. It could be part of a long-term solution in making them feel comfortable within their communities while promoting social cohesion.”
There’s a lot to unpick in just that paragraph.
We have a word for “designated safe spaces” for minorities. It’s “ghetto”.
Think about it for a moment. He wants councils to create special zones for transgender people where they can “socialise”. What about the bits that aren’t special? Are we to be excluded from them? By implication, if you have some areas that are “safe spaces” for trans people, the areas without that designation are and should remain unsafe.
Second, “making them feel comfortable in their communities”. What communities? My community is Partick, musicians and alcoholics. How exactly will a designated Be Trans Here And You Probably Won’t Get Beaten Up zone in the Merchant City going to make me “feel comfortable” in the bit of Glasgow where I actually live, work and socialise?
And as for promoting social cohesion: you don’t promote social cohesion by othering and segregating minorities in much the same way you don’t promote fire safety awareness by burning down everybody’s house.
This idea is “a bid to protect [us] from the worrying rise in hate crime.” Here’s how you do that. You chuck the bigots out of your own party. You stop fearing the wrath of Murdoch and introduce a system of press regulation that actually works on behalf of the public, not the publications. And more than anything, you enforce the laws on hate speech and hate crimes that we already have.