The National:

I NEVER picked a "side" – I was born this way. Common decency would argue that a group of people put into the continuous, never-ending, daily cycle of defending their existence should not be simply classed as a "side". For many of us, this "side" was never a choice. However, undermining LGBT+ rights and inclusion – the other side in the so-called debate – is a choice.

It never really was the gender debate, though. More like a misinformation war, targeting a particular sector of the LGBT+ community by divide-and-conquer tactics. Despite this, LGBT+ people across the political spectrum are now jumping to the defence of our trans siblings. Because we have seen this pattern of discrimination before. It is the same pattern that we witnessed against gay men in the 1980s. I know many of you will recall the typical "gay men are paedophiles and a danger to children". Except only now it's, "trans people are a danger to women and children".

Looking at fact-based evidence, let's look at where the real dangers are. According to the Williams Institute, transgender people are four times more likely than cisgender people to be victims of violent crime. Yet, the finger continues to be pointed at trans people as a danger to cis people. Why?

READ MORE: Terms like ‘hijacking’ don’t help to keep the trans rights debate civil

Society is being stirred up by hate and discrimination toward a minority group. Looking back in history, every time a group has been demonised like this without challenge, it ends in absolute disaster. We have multiple historical examples of how people's minds buy into irrational hate campaigns toward a minority grouping. Just open your history books – you won't need to read very far.

This is real now. We are at a point in history where LGBT+ organisations, rape crises centres, and almost every organisation which uses trans inclusive language are being hounded to the extent it is impacting the work they do – and for what? Is it because they had the audacity to provide services to people daring to be trans? Trans people have existed for millennia. It shouldn't be controversial anymore.

The argument that trans rights are eroding women's rights is the mantra from people who cannot specify which rights would actually be eroded. The current obsession with trans people and LGBT+ organisations is frightening. It should strike fear into the hearts of every gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and non-binary person and their loved ones out there.

Why does society ostracise people that are different? People tend to fear what they do not know, the unfamiliar. In terms of unfamiliarity around LGBT+ people – to that, I say, get to know us.

We laugh as you do, bleed the same, cry as you will. We should get to live life as straight cisgendered people do, unhampered by our sexuality and gender identity. Let us do precisely that by supporting all strands of the LGBT+ community because – goodness knows – our trans siblings particularly need it. Support marginalised people instead of meeting them with suspicion. We are amid an onslaught of hate and extremely damaging misinformation that is setting us back decades in the fight for LGBT+ inclusion. I use the term "fight" now because a few years ago, LGBT+ politics felt like a campaign, not a fight.

READ MORE: Scottish Government: New advice for schools to support transgender pupils

I know first-hand, it is pretty heart-breaking when your trans friend tells you they wished they could just have one day where they didn't have to justify that they exist. Instead of pointing the finger of hate and ignorance, cis people could show more empathy and understanding. It would be kinder to extend a hand and ask, "Are things difficult for you? How can we make it easier?"

Trans hate crime has doubled in the last four years, and it is of little wonder with the hate-filled misinformation being perpetuated. The only pandering is the perpetuation of the media platforming the trojan horse of "legitimate concerns” about LGBT+ rights and inclusion.

I have hope for the future. And my hope is that people who identify as LGBT+ should no longer have to face daily backlash for simply existing. Why isn't that a reality yet?


"Cisgender" definition: Denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.