Trans opponents will be embarrassed by views in years to come - Alexander Brown

Trans women are women. It’s a simple statement, an acceptance to let someone live as they are.

Yet for some reason, it is not a truth universally acknowledged.

Not a day goes by without a transphobic article being published, or a headline framed deliberately to attack a minority endlessly discussed and woefully unrepresented in the media.

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I am mortified to see comfortable established commentators who consider themselves progressives take a stand against the idea of self identification.

Glasgow's Pride in celebration of the city's LGBT+ community, September 4, 2021. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesGlasgow's Pride in celebration of the city's LGBT+ community, September 4, 2021. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Glasgow's Pride in celebration of the city's LGBT+ community, September 4, 2021. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

And we’ve heard the arguments before.

They don’t know at that age. They’re just confused. Where do we draw the line?

But this is a generation that remembers Section 28 repeating the words of those who supported it. And much like those who backed that hateful law, I truly believe those opposing ID will look back in embarrassment.

Their opposition is not malicious but misguided, and it’s not too late to change.

Consider Theresa May, who previously voted against gay adoption, and against reducing the age of consent for homosexual acts.

The former Prime Minister educated herself, and now gets standing ovations at LGBT events for her stance on Gender Recognition.

These views do not have to be entrenched, it comes down to a simple question: ‘Will this thing I believe negatively impact the quality of life of someone completely innocent?’

I didn’t want to write this, and repeatedly weighed up the pros and cons of doing so.

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There is the risk of mansplaining, arguing what womanhood is from my safe position of a cis white man.

But I can’t not, because to stay silent would be unacceptable in the face of the volume and power of the voices on the other side.

I don’t pretend to understand being trans, but you don’t need to have a shared experience to want other people's lives to be better.

Making things easier for a marginalised community is good and doesn't dilute the rights women fought for.

GRA changes nothing about access to spaces, that predates even the Equality Act, and same sex marriage didn’t redefine it between a man and a woman.

Feminism is intersectional and you don’t get to pick whose rights you support.

Concerns and the debates around age or spaces are questions that can be worked out, not stumbling blocks or reasons to oppose.

Self-ID laws for transgender people have been in place in Ireland since 2015, progress that has not led to the end of the world.

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The country acted quickly, doing it before people could notice so there was no time to be upset.

And it’s not just Ireland, we are outflanked by the US on this, making us less progressive than a country that elected Donald Trump.

Much was made of the protests in Scotland, with as many as 350 people outside Holyrood last week.

That more than three-quarters of MSPs from four parties were elected on manifesto commitments to change the Gender Recognition Act was less discussed.

Scotland voted for reform, you cannot argue there is a majority for independence in the Scottish Parliament but then dismiss GRA. The public voted for it.

Trans women are women. Trans men are men. It’s a statement that will improve other people’s lives without detracting from yours.

Alexander Brown is a columnist for Scotland on Sunday and Westminster Correspondent for The Scotsman

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