SHONA Craven discusses the use of the phrase “trans women are men” by opponents of trans equality (We have so much to learn from ‘irrelevant’ old women, January 18).

As a gay man, I grew up being told that same-sex relationships were not real relationships; they were a sign of illness and a risk to others. Then later, that those relationships would be “tolerated” but not treated equally. Then being told they could be legally recognised, but only as civil partnerships, not real marriages, because they weren’t as good as mixed-sex relationships, and that to allow same-sex marriage would “redefine” marriage in some negative way.

Only in the past few years has that changed, and LGB people are much closer to being able to get on with their lives without others denigrating their relationships as (in the words of the old Section 28) “pretended” ones.

Trans equality is some way behind. Trans people are still often told their gender identity is not real, but is an illness and a risk to others. Or they are “tolerated” but not treated equally. Or they are told their gender identity should be legally recognised in some ways, but not as real women or men, and that that would “redefine” woman and man in some negative way.

It is time we moved on, as we did over marriage. Trans people just want to get on with their lives as the women, men and non-binary people that they know themselves to be, and that they live as. They should be able to do that without discrimination, or having others denigrate their gender as “pretended” by insisting for example that trans women are men, or that they are “transwomen” but not women.

Tim Hopkins
Equality Network, Edinburgh