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Trans Day of Remembrance 2017

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even though her shackles are quite different from my own” Audre Lorde

The 20th November is marked every year as the Transgender Day of Remembrance. This day to given aside to remember the many trans people who are murdered as result of prejudice and hatred. On this day Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis would like to take the opportunity to reiterate that trans women are welcome and included within our service provision. In 2017 it is incumbent on all violence against women services to be clear that we acknowledge that trans women are women and that we reject hate speech which would seek to deny the personhood of transgender women and exclude them from our movement.

The evidence is clear: transgender people, and transgender women in particular, are at risk of significant harm simply for walking through the world while transgender. For example, the Trans Research Review (2009) found that 42% of trans people do not live as their preferred gender for fear of losing their job and All About Trans report that 45% of trans people experience transition related family breakdown. The Trans Mental Health Review found that 82% of trans people had considered ending their lives; and 35% had attempted suicide.

Against a background of such significant discrimination and oppression, the Scottish Trans Mental Health Study found that 14% of transgender people had been sexually assaulted, 6% raped and 38% sexually harassed because of their transgender identity. This means that not only are transgender people experiencing sexual violence at significant levels, but that this violence is often expressed in the form of a hate crime. Hate crimes are an attack on the deepest level of an individual person’s identity, and as such can impact survivors’ self-esteem and increased internalised hatred.

In the women’s sector, it is necessary for us to put our own house in order before we think about challenging the wider prejudice and discrimination that cause trans people to face violence and discrimination within a patriarchal and heterosexist society. Our movement has undergone a significant development in our understanding of transgender identities, and as we seek to move forward in promoting inclusion we need to acknowledge that our services have not always been inclusive and we are working really hard to change that.

It is necessary for us to try to build bridges with the transgender community in order to prove ourselves trustworthy. At GCRC we are undergoing the following steps in order to ensure that we are inclusive of trans people, and that our service is a safe space:

  • We have updated our policies and procedures to ensure that they are inclusive of trans people
  • All of our staff and volunteers undergo trans awareness training so that they can be sensitive to the needs of transgender survivors of sexual violence
  • We are working alongside community groups such as LGBT Youth Scotland and Free Pride to increase public awareness that our services are trans inclusive*
  • Transgender survivors accessing our support will also have access to the LGBT specific resources created by Rape Crisis Scotland.

We are always happy to hear about any additional steps that we can take to promote access and remove the barriers that oppressed people face to accessing our service. We seek to be part of creating a world where transgender people no longer face such significant risk of murder that it merits commemorating.

Paula Manners

LGBT Working Group

Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis

* Please note that Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis Centre offers support to all self identifying women

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Comments: 4 (Add)

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Sara on November 25 2017 at 13:32

This is such a great and important post. Thank you for writing it.

Nori Budge on November 24 2017 at 16:38

I fully support transwomen being able to access support when needed, but I have concerns that this should be the same service that women access - after all their needs are very different. The Equality Act provides for women only services and now you are moving away from this practice, could you point me towards your impact assessments on how including transwomen in support and groupwork sessions affects your women clients?

Mary Moon on November 24 2017 at 16:01

I do hope you are still offering female born women the chance to get counseling from and to be in support groups with other female born women as provided for by legislation.

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