Either infiltrated by trans exclusive radical feminists or simply browbeaten into doing so, Ofcom today released a statement confirming that they would be leaving the stonewall diversity champions scheme. Despite the statement promising their continuing commitment to diversity, the suggestion and implication that Stonewall mean to do anything but protect and enshrine the inclusion of L G B T Q I and A rights at any affiliated institutions is blatant misinformation, parroted hot from the presses of the gender critical who so love to bombard social media from behind anonymous profiles. So- Et Tu, Ofcom? And what does this mean next?
Ofcom’s role is to regulate media in the UK, ensuring that fair, equal and proportionate representation is always at the forefront of media production. As you may be able to tell from the rise of right wing populist media in the UK, Ofcom are questionable at best at this role. Even the BBC’s horrendous oversight of the Peter Stefanovic “Debunking Boris Johnson’s Lies” video lends credence to the fact that Ofcom is doing a poor job of regulating anything these days. But nothing shows Ofcom’s increasing determination to declare obsolescence than leaving the diversity champions scheme that has beenn a corner of any business in the UK who wishes to declare it’s commitment to ensuring that members of the LGBTQIA have fair representation in the workplace- both as employees, and as protected members of a minority status.
Looking historically at stonewall’s achievements, along with their ongoing commitment to equality for everyone under the banner of LGBTQIA- from significantly lending a hand to shaping the equality act to pushing the repeal of the highly damaging Section 28, legislation which even significantly affected childhoods like my own at a time when queer issues were not spoken about in school, it’s clear that their commitment to equality is the bone of contention that has meant their exclusion from an ostensibly vital organisation.
From the outside, what does leaving a scheme like this look like?
The statement provided by Ofcom was meant to reassure that they are committed to diversity and feel they do not need Stonewall to do so- an odd statement, as Stonewall is the go to for any guidance around LGBTQIA representation in the UK. But the second part of their statement, implying that Stonewall’s efficacy has come under scrutiny is viewed through the clouded lens of bigotry so often employed by the gender critical crowd who seem determined to suffuse society with their hatred.
Stonewall’s determination to protect trans people from hatred has been inspiring and has provided many a cis ally – myself included- with hope that organisations will not fall to the mindless hate that gender critical groups are foisting on the public.
As more frighteningly prominent figures come out as radicalised in favour of stripping back trans rights and protections, the situation in the UK looks bleak for trans individuals and an indifferent government- wholesale- does not help. Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner has released an article decrying “trans ideology” in, predictably, the Daily Mail. Quotes in the article follow the usual line, for example: “Residents “scared of female-only spaces filling with women with male genitalia”, as though accepting the tiny proportion of trans women in the UK will suddenly lead to an explosion of trans women.
It’s not surprising to see- if you look at Ms Townsend’s twitter follows, you’ll find the Conservative party, GB news, and account after account who are anti trans- for example, as I scroll now:
Anyone even mildly familiar with the relentless tide of transphobia which continues to wash across the UK will know names like Maya Forstater, we are fair cop, Debbie Hayton, Marrion Millar… all old hat names when it comes to the anti trans extremists. Curious that a police commissioner is so fervently following this group. One cannot help but feel that her role may be compromised as to treating trans victims with any decency if she is so convinced of the radical (self professed, using their own phraseology) feminists so opposed to trans equality.
Equally, worrying news regarding anti-trans campaigners breaking the news of ofcom’s departure from the scheme has made rounds on social media and if the alleged information is true, lends credence to the theme that Ofcom withdrawing is not to “avoid bias”- it is to endorse it. If anti trans campaigners working at or with Ofcom knew ahead of the statement’s release it suggests that they are operating from within to ensure this move was undertaken- and how is this not the very bias Ofcom supposedly works to prevent?
As an ally, I worry about what the next decade will look like for trans rights. As this group gains steam, I’ve no doubt that lives will be threatened. Trans people already face disproportionately high suicidal ideations, domestic violence, hate crime, sexual assault and murder and in a society emboldened to foster ignorant beliefs like gender criticality, how will this change and shape how trans people can live?
I’d urge gender critical nonsense imbibers to sit back and actually listen to trans people and what they want and need. Blaming someone for the body they have is at best callous, at worst pointlessly cruel. And acting like anyone standing in support of trans people is a dangerous misogynist is a laughable idea, comparable to those who said supporters of the LGBT community in the 70’s and 80’s were paedophile enablers.
To cease relations with Stonewall is a tacit admission that your organisation will no longer foster the equality of trans people- and this is exactly how it reads to anyone involved. Ofcom may be the first of several organisations to make this misstep and I simply look forward to whatever necessary changes need to take place in society for the ignorant in this fractured society to reflect on their behaviour and simply become better.
The irony is that every facet of every community contains an element of dangerous and depraved individuals. But to constantly seek out and platform those unscrupulous amongst the trans community is incredibly disingenuous. Often the anti trans community will fervently seek out the less scrupulous amongst the trans or trans supportive community and display them like zoo animals.
Where though, is the platform for trans women who excel at being simple members of society? Where is the threat from a trans woman walking down the street to her job? Or the trans man who serves you at the bar, helps his neighbour with shopping and gives to charity? To tar all trans people with the brush of dangerous, deluded etc is to engage in the very thoughtless bigotry that Stonewall stands against- and society at large is actively beginning to foster holding the view that all trans people are anything other than people who are trans.
Ofcom’s role is to provide balance to UK media production, and to move away from a body that’s entire reason for existence is an aggressive commitment to equality should be a worrying sound for any and all who notice- so spread the word, complain to Ofcom about their foolish and misguided step away from progression. Or admit that you are ambivalent towards equality for an already horrifically treated group in society.