UK: Why I Support Trans Rights

Mhairi Hunter. Mhairi has been a councillor in Glasgow since 2012, representing Southside Central Ward which comprises Queen’s Park,  Crosshill, Govanhill, Laurieston, Gorbals and Oatlands.

A self-confessed SNP hack, she worked in SNP HQ between 1997-2007 before working as Nicola Surgeon’s constituency manager until 2016. In 2017 the SNP were elected to run Glasgow City Council and Mhairi was apply he’d City Convener for Health and Social Integration. She is the organiser for Glasgow Southside SNP and was a local YES co-ordinator during the referendum. Born and brought up in London, Mhairi first political involvement was joining the Anti-Nazi League when she was 13. Opposing Nazis remains a firm priority.

Mhairi is a carer for her elderly father, and also for her increasingly elderly dog, Charlie. She has very little spare time and what time she has she likes to waste on Twitter or binge-watching Netflix instead of doing housework or other useful activities.

This week I signed a letter supporting trans rights which led, inevitably, to a couple of fairly lively days on twitter. Twitter is very much the wrong forum on which to discuss such a polarised issue, so I was pleased when Ungagged asked me to write about this subject as it allows me to expand on why I signed the letter and to reflect on what makes the online discussion so toxic.

The issue of safeguarding is perhaps the most toxic aspect of the debate.

At the heart of the debate is a proposed change to the Gender Recognition Act to simplify the process by which trans people can change their birth certificates to match their other documentation and to reflect how they live their lives, by allowing them to self-declare their gender identity (self-ID). The change would also give legal recognition to people who have a non-binary gender identity.

In many ways this would simply update gender recognition legislation to reflect the way self-ID already operates in practice in almost all public and private situations. However, it is happening at a time when gender identity has become part of a raging online debate.

I reached my view on GRA reform on the basis of the evidence available to me. Yet I have been accused of supporting trans rights because I am performatively woke, or a cultist or because I am the kind of woman who wants to please men. (The latter suggestion would greatly surprise the men in my life!) More offensively, it has been repeatedly suggested that, because I support a change to allow trans people to change their birth certificates more easily, I do not care about women and girls being raped or sexually abused. Read more via Ungagged