THIS past weekend marked one week and one year since the murder of Brianna Ghey. A young trans girl who was killed in Warrington, she is not the centrepiece of this article. However she is central to the theme – because while a young trans girl was murdered, our nation still continues to deny people like her.

Last year the UK stopped a bill that would have allowed for less constraints on trans rights in Scotland. We have promised the ban of conversion therapy since 2018 and have railroaded it twice, and possibly a third time, because of our fear of the trans community. I am struggling to not find our government despicable. It has failed me and others like me for so long. 

In 2021 the BBC was protested throughout the UK for interviewing an anti-trans lesbian porn star. She then published an article attacking trans woman, saying she'd "execute every last one of them" if it were up to her, and the BBC removed her comments but made no apology. In December 2022, the Secretary of State for Scotland used an arbitrary law, to stop a reform bill for the trans community. Our Prime Minister (below) has made continuous transphobic remarks, even while Brianna Ghey’s mother was visiting Parliament. We stopped an amendment to the Gender Recognition Act that would allow the dead to be recognised under their gender identity. We are a nation that makes light of a community that is threatened, assaulted, murdered for choosing not to suffer in silence.

The National:

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Before I knew what trans was I learned that I was black. I was taught that black meant lesser that I meant lesser that I wasn’t human, my life, my words, my skills, my actions were given less value if any. I’ve had to navigate through abuse in all its aspects to find my worth and my voice and for the way this nation and country treats trans people. I am constantly reminded of the bigotry I faced.

Coming out saved me. It wasn’t something I chose to be or do, it was something I had to do, I’ve lived openly for nearly nine years now. I’ve found new hardships, forms of bigotry, friends, love, joy, ways of being I’d never known. Because of my decision to live freely, I’ve never been happier. I know myself better and I’ve lived longer than I ever expected. If I left tomorrow I’d know I lived a full life. Yet people like me are debated, discussed and dissected like lab rats or a riddle you can’t seem to solve.

We are talked about like we aren’t people, like we’re children who made a silly decision and the grown-ups need to have a word. To be a thing on display is dehumanising, I feel it every day of my life as a minority and I feel it every day as a trans person. Science has proven we’re not children playing dress up. History across cultures has shown countless cases of individuals who would be recognised as one form or another of transgender. Yet we are still debated, we are still questioned and we are still threatened by individuals who’d happily see us suffer.

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I believe we are all capable of having real conversations, not media attacks, not hateful tweets but real conversations, honest vulnerable conversations, where both sides are able to be honest about feelings, without bigotry and with open dialogue, I think we’d actually see more acceptance.

I honestly believe most transphobia stems from three main things: People's experience with abusive men, struggling not to connect that fear on trans women. Not being heard and feeling lost in a world we feel we no longer understand,

The internet allows us to judge with no consequences. We forget or ignore that people take time and need to feel safe to be wrong, not attacked for being ignorant. I can’t explain to you how the feeling of racism affects me, because if you haven’t known racism you can never truly understand it. You can only support others in it.

With trans and other LGBT+ labels it's the same. You can’t know what that’s like to be devalued on a daily basis or afraid for your safety, your future, your possibility of a family. If you’ve never lived it you can’t truly know that fear or pain, but you can try to understand.

Others may argue that trans rights are an important conversation that we must have and we should have for the safety of women. To that I say if we truly cared about women we would be discussing laws to protect them, not removing rights from other minorities. We are afraid to have real dialogue with one another and until we do, we will continue to repeat the same cycle of hate.

Joy Ogunyemi Ferguson is a Scottish/Nigerian  writer of fiction and non-fiction. This article was published as part of the SNP BAME group's weekly column.