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International Transgender Day of Visibility: Guest blog from the LGBT+ Network

31 Mar, 2021

British Transport
Police Federation
Mar 31, 2021

International Transgender Day of Visibility: Guest blog from the LGBT+ Network

Today, 31 March, is International Transgender Day of Visibility. To mark this, we invited BTP's LGBT+ Network to write a guest blog to tell us more about the day and how we can be better allies to our colleagues. Our thanks to Linda-Jane Evans for writing this post:

My name is Linda-Jane Evans, and my pronouns are she/her. I am the Transgender/Non-Binary and Gender Diverse Representative for BTP's LGBT+ Network.

So, what qualifies me to be the representative? First and foremost, I fall into the category of a Gender Diverse individual as I am Transgender. This means I have a medical diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria, a condition of feeling that one's emotional and psychological identity is at variance with one's birth sex.

I have worked for the British Transport Police for six years and transitioned in force three years ago. I am currently working in the Force Control Room in Birmingham; I am police staff, and my role is a communications officer, so no doubt C/D Divisional Officers have heard my voice on the radio.

BTP's LGBT+ Network supports its members through events, and we raise awareness of LGBT+ issues across the force and within the wider community. Our network strives to contribute to the development of BTP policies and the agenda on equality and diversity. The network provides advice and guidance to BTP on LGBT+ issues in support of the Force's policing objectives.

The International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual event dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as a celebration of their contributions to society.

So why is today important? It's important because it helps bring to the forefront the benefit of having a diverse workforce and the benefits that Transgender people bring to the workplace by the wealth of their experience. Being able to bring your authentic self into work helps with an individual's confidence and in doing so helps business and corporations flourish with a diverse workforce and a culture of acceptance. It also brings into focus the issues that Transgender people face daily.

There has been an increase in negativity within the media and high profile celebrities expressing their mistrust of Trans individuals has also had a negative influence on the general public, who seem to have believed some of the nonsense spread around. The knock-on effect that this has brought is an increase in Transphobic hate crimes. The figures speak for themselves and Transphobic hate crimes are up 16%. To put this into perspective between 2018/19 there were 2,183 Transphobic hate crimes. In the same reporting period for the following years 2019/20 (bearing in mind we were in Covid-19 restrictions) the number of incidents rose to 2,540; an increase of 357 reported Trans hate crimes. Even I have noticed a paradigm shift in attitudes towards Trans people towards the negative and have experienced several incidents when out shopping, where people have put forward a negative opinion or voiced something within my earshot in the hopes of provoking a response. It is also a sad fact that suicide and self-harm within the Trans community is on the rise again with certain decisions within government legislation making it ever more difficult for Trans teens to access the treatment they require. This has led to a significant increase in self-harm within the Trans-Teen community and suicide. There are arguments for and against these treatments, but the fact remains it pushes lifesaving treatment and gender affirming operations ever further out of reach to those who need it. To put figures on this almost half - that is 48% - of trans people in Britain have attempted suicide at least once, 84% have thought about it, and more than 55% have been diagnosed with depression at some point (data from the Trans Mental Health Survey).

How can you help?

That is an easy question to answer! Support your LGBT+ colleagues, become an ally. Just because you are not LGBT+ yourself does not stop you from joining the LGBT+ Network. Most support their colleagues already by showing acceptance and understanding. However, you can assist further by stamping out intolerance when witnessed and challenging intolerant behaviour in others. Any intervention, no matter how small, has an effect.

Contact the LGBT+ Support Network

The network is an open and inclusive group for LGBT+ members and allies, offering advice and guidance on sexual orientation and gender identity issues. Get in touch with the network by emailing LGBTPlus@btp.pnn.police.uk