LGBTIQA+ pride flag

On a Friday afternoon at the end of January, I sat with nine other councillors for Trans Awareness Training.

It was delivered by the brilliant The Clare Project, a small Brighton and Hove based organisation who support Trans people in our city. For parts we were also joined by Mind Out and Allsorts Youth Project, two other brilliant organisations working for LGBTIQA+ people in Brighton and Hove.

The training was as a result of an amendment back in July by Green councillors. We put it forward for a few reasons – partially because we wanted all councillors to be aware of trans issues – but primarily in reaction to some shocking statistics regarding trans hate crime in our city. In 2018-19, reported transphobic hate crime was up 43%. We had to do something.

43% increase was just what was reported. The real figure could be so much worse.

Despite our reputation of being an LGBTIQA+ friendly city, it’s still not the perfect picture in Brighton and Hove.

It was clear from what we were shown in our training that there are still instances of transphobic graffiti in our city. There are still transphobic incidents that occur. Trans people still face daily discrimination and microaggressions in Brighton and Hove as they do everywhere else.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m proud of how welcoming we are as a city. I like to think we are doing better than most places. Despite transphobic hate crime being up 43% here, reports around a similar time said transphobic hate crime was up 81% across the country. But we shouldn’t rest on our laurels.

Who we’re leaving behind

This month is LGBT History Month – a chance to reflect on how far we’ve come. And we have. But while we reflect, we can’t miss the obvious. That the struggles we’ve fought haven’t yet been won for our trans siblings.

From vitriolic social media, to stickers and graffiti on the street – not a week goes by where I don’t witness something transphobic. Some of it is fought in the name of women’s rights.

As a woman, I won’t stand for transphobia in my name. I know what it feels to live in fear of violence against me as a woman. I know the fear of feeling unsafe. This fear doesn’t come from trans women. It comes from men.

We will keep up the fight

At the end of the training, I asked the organisations present to tell me what we, as councillors could do. The message was clear – be an ally and stand up for our trans residents. Be loud, be visible and use our privilege in the right way. Keep on working until the battle for equality is won for all LGBTIQA+ people, not just the L, G and B.

I will listen. And I will particularly support the most marginalised, like trans women of colour who suffer most from transphobic hate.

I will proudly continue to wear my pronoun badge, a campaign run by Brighton and Hove City Council each year.

I will do everything in my (small, local government) power, to make sure that in years to come I will be looking at a decrease in hate crime in Brighton and Hove.

Image credit: Ludovic Berton – Creative Commons