Scottish Liberal Democrats Equalities Person Caron Lindsay reflects on Transgender Day of Remembrance.
A few years ago, I took a trip to London with some young people.
They had the choice of any West End musical we could get cheap tickets for on the Saturday night. They chose instead to go to a vigil remembering victims of hate crimes .
So, instead of being in a warm theatre, we spent several hours in rain and freezing cold. It was an incredibly moving event. The most sombre part was when the names of people who had lost their lives was read out.
Each one of these names was a human being with hopes, interests, emotions, ambitions. All they wanted to do was get on with their lives in peace. Those lives were cut short because of prejudice and hatred.
A year or so after that trip to London, one of those young people came out as transgender. They were only too well aware of the sort of prejudice they faced if they revealed their true self. To do so in those circumstances takes incredible courage.
Fortunately, they had supportive family and friends and are now doing very well.
November 20th is the Transgender Day of Remembrance when we remember transgender people across the world who have been murdered because of who they are. This year, the number is 350, not far off one person every single day.
For several years now, trans and non binary people in this country have been constantly marginalised, the target of well-funded misinformation.
It’s not that long since an anti trans group took out a full page advertisement in a daily newspaper.
Those tactics are not consequence free. They contribute to mental health problems faced by trans and non binary people and as this so called debate got more toxic, hate crimes shot up by 81%.
One of the worst aspects of this is the suggestion that there is a contradiction between transgender rights and women’s rights.
As a cisgender woman and a lifelong feminist, I see no conflict and I reject any attempt to turn people against each other.
A couple of years ago, I chaired a fringe meeting at our Conference where speakers from Engender Scotland and the Scottish Transgender Alliance showed how they work together to advance rights for everyone. They talked about the concept of radical kindness that built solidarity between people who routinely face structural discrimination.
That is exactly how it should be.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats are committed to creating a society which celebrates diversity and making sure that people have the freedom to live life as they are, free from discrimination and prejudice. Today, and every day, we stand with the LGBT+ community.
Scottish Liberal Democrats Equalities Spokesperson