The Glasgow Guardian stands with UofG’s trans community amongst increasingly vitriolic public discourse
In the past week, headlines have been dominated by successive government representatives making increasingly provocative and aggressive overtures about trans people. From Rishi Sunak declaring base level transphobia as “common sense” at Conservative party conference, to Steve Barclay announcing government policy designed to exclude trans women from female hospital wards, it has been a particularly grim news cycle for members of the trans community.
Of course, transphobia has been embedded into the institutions which govern us far beyond the events of the past few weeks. But to see such blatant, virile rhetoric be espoused so prolifically – and legitimised in the forums of the government’s party conference – is deeply disturbing. What’s more, the violence and dehumanisation inherent to the kind of narratives being peddled by Sunak and his cabinet doesn’t exist in an abstract vacuum; it has real consequences for the safety of the trans community. In the past year there has been an increase of 11% in transphobic hate crimes, which the Home Office itself has admitted could be attributed to the nature of discussions being had by political figures in the public domain. The hostility comes from both sides of the political spectrum, with the trans community also being let down by Starmer’s Labour, who have u-turned on commitments to demedicalise the process of self-identification, and accommodated proponents of the gender critical movement such as Rosie Duffield. It is in this context that it feels more important than ever for us to assert as a publication that the fundamental rights of trans people to safety, dignity and recognition will never be up for debate, or a point of conversation at The Glasgow Guardian. We are not interested in facilitating conversations about whether or not trans people have a right to exist. What we are interested in is defending passionately and unequivocally the rights of the trans community.
We are the first generation in decades to witness progress being rolled back in real time. This appalls and alarms us, and while we will never know how truly terrifying it is to have our livelihoods demonised week after week in column inches, or used as a political football by ministers and broadcasters out on the airwaves, as your editors we want to do things differently. We endeavour to make The Glasgow Guardian as welcoming a publication as possible for trans and non-binary students, and encourage more of you to write for us. It doesn’t have to be about your life experiences – as insightful and courageous as they may be – because we recognise that you are human beings, just like us, with broad and beautiful hobbies and interests. As a student publication, it’s frustrating how little we can do to dismantle the systematic barriers upheld against you by traditional media outlets. Within the University of Glasgow, however, we hope we can recognise and represent the enriching contributions you make to our campus, where you shouldn’t just feel safe, but valued and wanted. Our lives, not just as your editors, but your friends, too, would be so much worse without you.