Sheffield Trade Union Council agrees statement on TRANS SOLIDARITY and pledges a welcoming environment to all Trans people

 “Trans people face discrimination and abuse on a daily basis” said Martin Mayer Secretary Sheffield TUC. “They need our solidarity and support. Instead of hatred, they need our understanding; instead of abuse – or even assault- they need our welcome” he said. “Sheffield TUC pledges the join the fight to combat prejudice against trans, which is being whipped up by some sections of the media. Misinformation and transphobia hysteria is dangerous. Trans people are not a threat. We in the trade union movement have a responsibility to speak out in support” he said.

Sheffield TUC has overwhelmingly agreed to support a motion on Trans Solidarity after a lengthy in-depth debate and after listening to invited speaker Heather Paterson CEO of SAYit, the LGBT+ campaign organisation. Heather told a harrowing story of the victimisation, discrimination and abuse faced by transgender people, and the hatred whipped up by a hostile media which has directly led to violent assault from members of the public and contributed towards the fear and anxiety many trans people feel. She listed statistics from a power point presentation, the main points being:

  • Trans adults typically wait 2 – 5 years for access to transition treatment
  • More than 2 in 5 young trans people have tried to take their own life
  • More than 4 in 5 young trans people have self-harmed
  • Trans people disproportionately suffer mental health issues
  • 60% of trans people have experienced discrimination at work, causing many to leave their job
  • 65% hide their identity at work to keep safe
  • One in 8 trans people were physically attacked at work by colleagues or customers
  • One in 3 employers admit to discriminating against trans
  • Nearly 7 in 10 trans young people have been subjected to death threats at school
  • 36% of trans students in higher education report negative behaviour or comments from staff
  • one in 4 trans people had left their homes because of transphobic reactions from family members, roommates or neighbours
  • One in 4 trans people have experienced homelessness
  • 25% experienced discrimination when looking for a home to buy or rent
  • There are daily negative stories in the media about trans people, spreading lies and misinformation and stoking up hatred and hysteria
  • 41% of trans people have experienced hate crime in the past year
  • a British trans woman was granted asylum in New Zealand because the UK is so transphobic
  • 44% of trans people avoid certain streets because they don’t feel safe there
  • 48% of trans people don’t feel comfortable using public toilets through fear of discrimination or harassment
  • 34% trans people have been discriminated against because of their gender identity when visiting a café, restaurant, bar or nightclub in the last year
  • Many trans people experience online abuse, often from complete strangers

The Gender Recognition Act could have helped and polls show 70% supported it, but the Government has shelved it. Trans people are able to access self-determination in other countries including Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Denmark, Ireland, India, Malta, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal and Uruguay – but not in the UK. The recent court decision banning the use of puberty blockers is regarded as a big setback, causing huge distress to young people waiting for treatment.

Rosie moved the Trans Solidarity motion from UNITE NE 403/5 Not4Profit branch, which was overwhelmingly agreed. Some of the points raised included:

  • the importance of a welcoming environment and solidarity from organisations like Sheffield TUC
  • we need to counter fabricated claims that trans people attack women rights activists
  • the principle of “my body, my choice” should apply to medical intervention
  • we need to unite all the movement in solidarity against austerity, and not let transphobia divide us
  • trans rights pose no threat to women’s rights
  • certain women’s groups claim not be transphobic but have opposed reforms for trans rights
  • the Tories want a culture war on this. We can deal with disagreements via discussion
  • the time for trans solidarity is now and it’s not acceptable that some in our movement are hesitant about this

Sheffield TUC has agreed a £100 donation to SAYit, and to encourage local trade union branches to endorse the call for trans solidarity.