Let’s face it. Being LGBTQ+ in today’s society is feeling increasingly difficult. While our community continues to thrive and shine in the public eye, it’s met with an onslaught of backlash from politicians and the media. Anti-trans rhetoric being used as click bait has become common practice across the entire media landscape - particularly in the UK press. Outlandish stories about children identifying as cats in schools - a story which was quickly debunked - gain huge attention from the newspapers and social media. Scandal sells papers and click bait headlines make it far too easy for the press to influence public opinion for the sake of profit.
It can feel very overwhelming trying to navigate through this environment, especially when these often completely false or exaggerated stories begin to influence friends and family.
One study found that most 'anti-trans' adults do not know any trans people in real life and that having a trans person in their life greatly increases the chances of someone becoming a trans ally.
We take solace in the fact that that the more people get to know our community the more accepting they will be and we are proud of every trans person navigating their lives, consciously or unconsciously making a positive impact.
As a trans-owned business that serves the trans community, we also want to provide some tips to help debunk these transphobic ideas, and offer guidance to how to respond when you are faced with it in your lives. We’ve compiled a list of some common transphobic statements below with some responses that you may find helpful.
“People are being groomed to be trans nowadays”
- As society is becoming more inclusive of LGBT people - it’s inevitable that an increase in children/adults is reported as people feel more comfortable expressing who they really are.
- No one can force a child to be trans, just as they cannot force a child to be gay.
- Trans people have existed for centuries, it is not a new concept.
- As our institutions become more inclusive of trans people, individuals who are struggling with their gender identity will feel safer coming out, they are not being groomed to do so.
“Children shouldn’t be allowed to transition as it’s dangerous and irreversible”
- Data from more than a dozen studies of more than 30,000 transgender and gender-diverse young people consistently show that access to gender-affirming care is associated with better mental health outcomes—and that preventing young people from accessing gender affirming care increases rates of suicide, depression and self-harming behaviour.
- All trans/non-binary adults were once children, and have often felt some sort of gender dysphoria well before adulthood. It’s crucial that children who are struggling with their gender expression are supported and loved through that process.
- In the UK is impossible to receive any medical transition without a diagnosis of gender dysphoria - which is a lengthy, rigorous process. If you are referred to a GP at 12, you will not be offered hormone therapies until at least the age of 16. Contrary to the press coverage, in the UK and the US surgical gender-affirming procedures are not available for under-18s at all.
- Medical transition is not available before puberty in the UK - trans youth can however be supported through social transition (dressing differently, changing name)
“Trans women are just men trying to invade women’s spaces”
- Instances of cis-men pretending to be trans women to access women’s spaces are extremely rare. Unfortunately predatory men will always find ways in which to harm women - but this isn’t reflective of nor relates to the existence of trans women. There is no evidence that letting trans women use women's bathrooms increases safety risks.
- Trans women have been using women’s spaces for years - it is only being weaponised by the press because of the media climate that benefits by using trans people as a scapegoat.
- Women’s rights are fundamental to society - trans people are not trying to undo progress nor are they the community that seeks to harm women.
“Men are men and women are women”
- The science is clear and conclusive: sex is not binary, transgender people are real. It is time that we acknowledge this. Defining a person’s sex identity using decontextualized “facts” is unscientific and dehumanizing.
- 'Biological sex' is far more complicated than the XX or XY chromosomes we learned about in highschool. Proof to this effect can be found in the fact that XX individuals could present with male gonads. XY individuals can have ovaries.
- Looking at the anatomy of the brain, for some properties like brain volume and connectivity, trans people possess values in between those typical of cisgender males and females before and after transitioning. For other brain anatomy metrics, trans people seemed closer to those with the same assigned sex at birth.
Unfortunately, this is just a snapshot of some of the rhetoric used by people criticising the trans experience and our community. We have all read the dreaded comment sections of sites like the Daily Mail + Facebook and have seen the misinformation being peddled. Standing strong as a community and fighting back against this hate is our best chance of success and survival. It’s important to remember that despite the media backlash, there is a still a huge amount of support for queer and trans people across the world. One study showed nearly 70 per cent of non-LGBTQ+ young adults were supportive of trans people.
If you think we missed one, or you have your own advice for responding, please let us know in the comment section. You can also email us on email@example.com