Trans Awareness Week is over for another year, coming to a close with Trans Remembrance Day, but given the silence of the UK’s politicians, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it had been deliberately ignored by many.
I expected nothing from the Tories and was not disappointed. I didn’t even check any Tory politicians because, well, why would I waste my time like that when Baroness Nicholson, Tory peer, is tweeting stuff like this:
All violent deaths are a matter of concern;so very sorry indeed that cab drivers are topmost victims,but surprised and pleased that transpeople are at the very end of the list.Good news that even murderers are respecting the trans community now. https://t.co/bRTkWeR5Yn
— Emma Harriet Nicholson (@Baroness_Nichol) November 20, 2022
I did look at the official Party account and found nothing but my soul being sucked from my body.
Labour, however, like to prance in front of Pride and pretend they are allies to the LGBTQ+ community, so how did they do?
The official Labour Twitter account, who tweeted about Trans Day of Remembrance at 8am in 2020 and 2021, finally remembered at 1pm on Sunday after they’d been nudged by numerous people:
On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we honour the memory of the trans people whose lives were taken by discriminatory violence.
The next Labour government will always stand with LGBT+ people against bigotry and hatred. pic.twitter.com/hyx8x8GPXy
— The Labour Party (@UKLabour) November 20, 2022
It definitely felt like they were tweeting because they had to rather than they wanted to.
Hanlon’s Razor states that we should never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity, but we know Keir Starmer is not a stupid man.
Yet, he is attempting to walk a dangerous path he thinks will lead him to number 10. Playing to the right-wing, Starmer believes being transphobic is a vote-winner, which isn’t very smart, given recent elections.
On the first day of Trans Awareness Week, Starmer was praised in the pages of the Mail on Sunday after his Mumsnet interview for his ‘tough’ stance on trans children.
His silence this week, and on Trans Remembrance Day itself, could not have sent a louder message if he’d had JK Rowling, Rosie Duffield and Joanna Cherry round for Sunday lunch.
Like Starmer, Labour’s deputy, Angela Rayner, also said nothing of her own. She opted to retweet the official Labour account’s tweet from above.
Starmer didn’t even do that.
The Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, Shabana Mahmood, Pat McFadden, Yvette Cooper, David Lammy, Ed Milliband, Bridget Phillipson, Lisa Nandy, Nick Thomas-Symonds, John Healey, Jonathan Ashworth, Wes Streeting, even Emily Thornberry, all joined in with saying and doing nothing. I got bored and sad checking Shadow cabinet members at this point.
Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Women and Equalities and Party Chair, did actually tweet about TDoR before the official Labour account, but saw it as a chance to push Labour policy rather than an opportunity to show solidarity with people grieving immense loss.
Hate crimes reported against trans people rose by 56% last year – and soared by 1106% since 2012.
— Anneliese Dodds (@AnnelieseDodds) November 20, 2022
Claudia Webbe tweeted with sincerity, although she is no longer a member of the Labour Party and sits as an Independent.
She was kicked out of the Party last year after being found guilty of harassing a woman who was having an affair with her partner.
Webbe maintains her innocence, but lost an appeal against her conviction earlier this year.
Trans Rights are Human Rights
🏳️⚧️Today is Trans Day of Remembrance when we remember the lives taken by anti-transgender violence
🏳️⚧️Most killed are of African, Asian, Caribbean & other racialised groups; many are from the global south
— Claudia Webbe MP (@ClaudiaWebbe) November 20, 2022
This tweet loses some of its shine when you look at the accounts Webbe follows. Ingala Smith, LadWDEC, Sonia Sodha, FiLiA, sit among the people on what is admittedly a long list over over 11,000 follows. Who knows who else is in there.
Webbe has previously spoken out about receiving transphobic abuse herself in a toilet at a Labour Party conference.
“On Sunday evening,” she said in September 2021, “I was in the loo downstairs with a few of my colleagues from the north-west when I was transphobically abused in this conference centre by one of our sisters in this conference hall now.”
“It should not happen, we have got an anti-bigotry and anti-bullying policy in the Labour Party. We need it to be enforced.”
Jeremy Corbyn, who also had the Labour whip removed and sits as an Independent tweeted at the very start of the week because, you know, he’s a decent human being:
The resilience of trans people in the face of endless marginalisation is an inspiration to us all.
This #TransAwarenessWeek, let’s empower trans communities in their struggle for justice, and celebrate their strength and joy.
There is no debate: trans rights are human rights.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 14, 2022
The Lib Dems also tweeted at the start of the week from their official account (see below).
They also tweeted on TDoR:
On Transgender Day of Remembrance we pause to remember all those who have been victims of transphobic violence.
— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) November 20, 2022
Today is #TransDayOfRemembrance, a time when we remember all those who’ve lost their lives simply for being who they are.@LibDems believe everyone has the right to be their authentic self, free from harassment & intimidation, and we won’t stop fighting for that better future.
— Richard Foord MP (@RichardFoordLD) November 20, 2022
This, however, meant little because it comes after they amended their constitution to redefine the definition of ‘transphobia,’ making it easier for GCs to misgender and deadname trans people.
Earlier this week they decided that "expressing Gender Critical beliefs", aka calling to remove trans people's human rights and abusing them, is fine, and that misgendering and deadnaming aren't transphobic https://t.co/bdp2X2K4or
— Katy Montgomerie 🦗 (@KatyMontgomerie) November 16, 2022
The Lib Dems’ leader, Sir Ed Davey, said nothing.
The Green Party tweeted both at the start of the week and for TDoR:
This #TransAwarenessWeek we say clearly that trans rights are human rights 🏳️⚧️
We will continue to proudly champion inclusion and stand with all communities facing discrimination 💚 pic.twitter.com/Wru5wGmDEh
— The Green Party (@TheGreenParty) November 15, 2022
Today is #TransDayOfRemembrance.
Our thoughts are with the community. Our thoughts are with everyone lost to violence. Our thoughts are with those in precarious, dangerous environments which encourage violence or commit it.
No amount of words could express our emotions today. pic.twitter.com/aJokpMcRJT
— LGBTIQA+ Greens (@LGBTIQAGreens) November 20, 2022
The SNP said nothing, nor did Nicola Sturgeon.
They left it late, but got their tweet out just after 8pm:
Today we mark Transgender Day of Remembrance,when we take a moment to remember all those who have been the victims of transphobic violence. Plaid Ifanc are proud to have successfully made a trans-inclusive ban on LGBTQ+ conversion therapy in Wales an official Plaid Cymru policy. pic.twitter.com/z5tCX79KfB
— Plaid Ifanc 🏴 (@plaidifanc) November 20, 2022
Northern Ireland political parties
The DUP obviously said nothing but, to be fair, I’m not even sure they’ve got their heads around trans people being a thing, yet.
Sinn Fein, who have often been vocal in the fight for equality for LGBTQ+ people, said nothing.
Alliance, the only political party to send a representative to the first Northern Ireland Trans Pride, did not tweet themselves but did retweet one of their MLAs:
On Transgender Day of Remembrance we pause to remember those we lost too soon.
We also reaffirm our commitment to tackling hate crimes & upholding the rights of trans & non-binary people.
— John Blair MLA (@JohnBlairMLA) November 20, 2022
They were also the only political party from the ones listed here to tweet about the shooting at Club Q in Colorado:
My thoughts go out to those affected by the shooting at a gay club, Club Q, Colorado Springs. Every year, there are senseless attacks on our LGBT brothers and sisters not only in the US but around the world and it really has to stop. Sending much love to #ClubQ
— Cllr. David Lee-Surginor | 李嘉誠 🟡 (@CllrDavidLeeAP) November 20, 2022
Looking at this list it is clear that those at the top of the political tree in the UK, for the larger part, prefer to remain silent if they are not actively supporting transphobes.
There is no other message you can take here.
Still, those very same transphobes will tell us how we are the ones who hold all the power.
It certainly doesn’t feel like it when you consider all the legacy Sunday papers ignored Trans Day of remembrance Day, too, yet will happily report when a GC sneezes.