To Hate or Not to Hate

A debate was recently started when I was arranging a Transgender Day of Remembrance service in my home town.  It was planned as the culmination of Transgender Awareness Week where transgender people reach out into the wider community to make all people more aware of the issues which transgender people face every day of our lives and to this end our TDoR event was planned to be open to everybody in the hope that by being inclusive we could show people the tragic and horrific end results of unbridled transphobia.

Invitations were sent out to various groups like Samaritans, Torbay Healthwatch, Torbay Community Development Trust, Torbay and South Devon Healthcare Trust, Devon and Cornwall Police and local politicians of all parties – for these are the people who can make a difference to the lives of transgender people in a positive way.  All have responded and willingly accepted our invitations. The Devon and Cornwall Police even offered to help support our event by donating some funding to allow us to provide food and refreshments for everybody attending and the local Healthcare Trust kindly donated their conference facilities for the evening at no charge.

Julien Parrot - a Torbay councillorOne local politician, who incidentally is fully supportive of LGB and, in this case, perhaps more importantly, T rights (and who also walked out of a council meeting because he was refused leave by the Chair of the Council, to ask questions about violence against women and children in the Torbay area) accepted the invitation.

A furore of condemnation from certain people erupted because of this.
Why???
Purely because he represents UKIP as a local councillor.  Many of the remarks said that he should be excluded (despite his previous support for LGBT rights).  That he had no right to even be in the room.  One person remarked that she could not even sit in the same room as somebody who represented UKIP.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I disagree with the policies of UKIP vehmently and many in that party are transphobic, homophobic and racist individuals. However, don’t these remarks sound very similar to those from the anti-trans cabal activists or to the many people who would exclude us  from any public space – the politics of hatred, the politics of denying us our right to be who we are?  Is it not better to have somebody inside that party arguing for support for us against the people who wish to deny us of our human rights? Surely we as a community are better than that?  We decry people who refuse to listen to our voices and reject our arguments for inclusion for being bigots – if we start doing the same and excluding people (in spite of them being supportive of our demand for equality) does this not make us just as bigoted as they are?

To enable positive change we have to engage with people outside our community and this includes politicians (of all parties) and if people want to learn and then act to help us achieve better healthcare, better housing, safe and secure employment then I, personally, welcome this – as I would hope that most fair minded people would.

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3 Replies to “To Hate or Not to Hate”

  1. Dear Carol,It has shocked and saddened me to read this – all the more because I had absolutely no idea that you had been forced to deal with this. You should perhaps have let me know, and then Sue and I would perhaps have chosen to show our respect in a different way and at a different place and time. Yet you chose not to, and to welcome us to your event, which says so much more about you than it does about the spiteful, intolerant and frankly nasty people there are here in our Bay. What particularly horrifies me is that these people are in the ‘so-called’ caring professions. In some ways, this is the ultimate hypocrisy; it makes me worry about what they think of the people they purport to care for. I have given no-one in the Bay any cause whatsoever to take this view of me, in either my personal or political life. No-one has said anything to my face, which says it all really about what cowards they are. How appalling that they should take this attitude over your event. I hope it won’t detract in any way from the importance of your message, and the importance of the work that you do to combat intolerance in our Bay.With love and best wishes,Julien

  2. Thank you Julien. The event was open to all, and although our politics differ, you came to listen and to learn and to be respectful of transgender people and I applaud you for your fairness and open-mindedness in doing so. I think everybody who attended that evening thought the same.TDoR is an event where we must all come together to work for a fairer and more equal society and all people who wish to come and learn and be respectful are welcomed irrespective of race, religion, political viewpoint etc.You were welcome to attend and I refuse to be bullied by other people into policing people who hold a different political perspective than myself. If we cannot accept differences in others, how can we expect others to accept us for who we are – and how can we reach out to others to educate and enlighten them if we ourselves have closed minds?The politics of hate can be extremely corrosive and unfortunately many people hate what they cannot understand – so when cis-gendered people wish to come and stand with us at an event to commemorate those of us who have been murdered or the hate that they felt became too much for them that they decided to take their own lives and in so doing, they learn a little about that hate, then I applaud them and welcome them to our events.So, for these reasons I welcome you and Sue to our events in the hope that together we can all start ending this hatred.In peace and goodwillCarol

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