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