An open letter to Stonewall

Dear Mr. Summerskill,

 

I would like to congratulate you for the amazing amount of work that you and Stonewall have done for the LGB movement over the years. As a charity you have really pushed forward the acceptance of gay rights and when I was a teenage boy, having just slept with a man for the first time and questioning my identity, Stonewall was one of the first places I found that was supportive and informative and helped me a great deal. When I was at school I was a bit of an efeminate child and was often bullied by the more ‘cool’ people in the playground, learning to come to terms with my sexuality reminded me of the vulnerableness that I experienced at the hands of schoolyard bullies and Stonewall was to me a beacon of light, giving me hope that things can get better.

 

 

As I grew up and came to terms with my identity more I realised that I was not a gay or bisexual man but a trans woman and in the course of my research found out a wealth of internet resources about transsexual issues, lots of small organisations gave me confort, hope and support and naturally I assumed that Stonewall would be just as supportive. It was only when I started to meet and talk with other trans people that I learnt how Stonewall define themselves only as a lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, missing out the ‘T’ on the end of LGBT.

 

 

I did some research on the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York and found out how the gay community were standing up for their rights after years of opression and how these riots actually included a sizeable number of drag queens, representatives of a newly self-aware transgender community. I’ve spoken to representatives of your charity and have been told that Stonewall have spoken to some members of the trans community and have decided only to focus on the LGB aspect.

 

 

By you not including the ‘T’ feels very exclusionary, it kinda reminds me of being in the school playground again, different hierachies of ‘opressed’ people unwilling to help each other out and unite against a common goal. It feels like trans people are not worthy of support, and I shouldn’t have to remind you that there are a great number of gay, lesbian and bisexual people who also happen to be trans. By not including the’T’ it feels like there is an attempt to erase trans people from issues that are just as central to us as they are to people who are LGB.

 

 

I notice that the ‘big’ American gay charities such as GLAAD are inclusive of the trans community, recognising that we are a small number and could do with some support. Stonewall is the largest and most well known LGB organisation in the UK and although I’m not asking you to drastically change your focus and policies, I am just asking for a bit of support. We are all fighting for common goals, we are all human beings facing discrimination, demanding equality and gaining acceptance, I think it is time for some changes, I think it is time that Stonewall comes out in support of transgender people.

 

Yours in hope,

 

Sarah Savage.

 

 

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