Trans people have the right to feel safe and welcome in Oxford, just like all of our city’s other residents and workers.
Yet they frequently face hate crimes from individuals, and indifference from authorities – who too often fail to understand trans people, or to consider their needs when providing services and facilities.
We are deeply alarmed by reports suggesting that the government may be planning to withdraw some existing protections for trans people in the UK, and to limit efforts aimed at ensuring that trans people – and everyone else – can go about life safely.
The government and its allies have offered little genuine evidence to justify any roll-backs of existing rights, or to justify any further restrictions on the ability of trans people to live their lives. Indeed, some of these restrictions may even contradict available evidence: Reported plans to limit councils’ ability to offer “gender neutral” toilets, for instance, ignore the reality that single-occupant “gender neutral” facilities have long been the norm on trains and planes – and the reality that trans people have been using toilets that match their gender for years, without incident.
Trans people are people. Like everyone else, they deserve the chance to live with dignity and safety. The government should stop creating unnecessary challenges, and start thinking about how our communities can welcome everyone.
If you wish to learn more about the issues facing trans people in the UK, the not-for-profit group Stonewall is a good place to start: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/truth-about-trans
If you wish to contribute to efforts aimed at making the UK a safer place for trans people and for the wider LGBT+ population, Stonewall accept donations, as do AKT – a charity working to support young LGBT+ people facing homelessness and/or life in hostile environments: www.akt.org.uk
Statement signed by Councillor Stefanie Garden (Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Equal Opportunities, Oxford); Andrew Heaver (Oxford East Liberal Democrats); Theo Jupp (Oxford University Liberal Democrats)