Friends like these

It’s trans day of visibility today, which means we get to see the rank hypocrisy of politicians tweeting about their supposed support for trans people while openly supporting the removal of trans people’s rights.

The latest front in the forever war against trans people is pushing the idea of “parents’ rights”. Based on a report from a right-wing think tank, a report fronted by horrific transphobe and Labour MP Rosie Duffield, multiple newspapers have run stories this week expressing their anger that some schools are not notifying parents of teens changing their pronouns or appearance. Or as it’s better described, following the law and safeguarding kids from potential abuse.

The report comes from Policy Exchange, which is very clearly rubber-stamping already decided policy. The tories intend to use trans people as political footballs in the next election – something they’ve stated openly – and this latest scaremongering gives them the opportunity to say they are responding to the will of the people. People who are being repeatedly and cynically misled by a primarily right-wing press pushing narratives created by the Christian Right. Parents’ rights is the label currently being used by Republicans all over the US to try and eliminate trans teens by removing their protections and healthcare.

And Labour? Kier Starmer never met a transphobe he didn’t like, so of course he is entirely with the tories on this one.

For the benefit of people who aren’t LGBT+ or who don’t work with vulnerable people, the reason we have safeguarding is because parents are often the most dangerous people of all. Many of the horrors LGBT+ people experience are perpetrated by their families and communities. “Corrective rape” and other forms of sexual abuse. Domestic violence. Conversion therapy. LGBT+ people are much more likely to be made homeless by their parents, and to be made homeless at much younger ages; in the UK, almost 1/4 of young homeless people are LGBT+. That’s horrifically disproportionate.

LGBT+ people know this. Teachers know this. And I suspect the politicians do too, but they simply don’t care. To them, LGBT+ lives simply don’t matter.

As one teacher posted in response to the news:

My first year teaching, a girl I taught got caught kissing another girl behind the gymnasium. She begged our admin not to tell them it was a girl – just say she got caught kissing someone. They refused.

The next day she came in with a swollen jaw.