Today, I as founder of Cool2BTrans stand alongside other trans & LGBT groups to confirm I will NOT be participating in the government’s misnamed ‘Safe To Be Me’ conference in the summer, which was to “celebrate LGBTQ+ people and equality and to spotlight the best practices in enabling their inclusion in society and business”.
The UK is far from “Safe to be Me” for any trans or non-binary person. In recent years the government has failed to support transgender and non-binary people and has privileged anti-trans voices in debates and policy direction.
Trans and non-binary hate crime has risen by 332% in the last 5 years. Proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act have been scrapped in England and Wales despite overwhelming public support. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has been compromised in its previous independence from the Government to issue anti-trans statements on both GRA reform and conversion “therapy” (torture). The Women and Equalities Select Committee have criticised the Government for fostering, through inaction and a lack of clear support for the transgender community, a climate of division and hatred. The UK has been severely criticised by international human rights organisations including the ERC for its anti-trans direction.
This situation has worsened in the last week when the Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a crass “joke” about trans people just hours before one of his own MPs came out as being trans, in addition to an unacceptable comment by Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss. This was followed by the Government releasing a statement (on Transgender Day of Visibility) stating that it will impose a ban on conversion “therapy” (torture) for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, but not for transgender people. Trans people are human beings too and we need protecting from torture just as much as everyone else.
I urge all organisations to consider the impact to their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion ambitions and the damage to their reputation that participating in the Safe To Be Me conference will bring.
I urge all organisations to consider the impact of attending this event on their trans and non-binary, employees, colleagues, customers and associates.
I urge all individuals, national and international, to reflect on how their position on the “Safe to be Me” event will affect trans and non-binary people in the UK and beyond.
I extend my thanks to Bobbi Pickard and Trans in The City for working tirelessly behind the scenes, coordinating activities and attempting to build a consensus in order to try and get trans voices heard by a Government.
The Safe To Be Me conference is no more than a pink-washing exercise by a trans-hostile Government and I will have nothing to do with it.
Katie Neeves FRSA
Trans Ambassador & Founder of Cool2BTrans