Some thoughts on Toiletgate
(My beloved, rarely mentioned here, has an eye for the jugular, and has christened the Pride events thus.)
1. There are two crucial issues at stake beyond Pride. One is the way that people outside the loop regard the Gender Recognition Act as mandatory - in order to have rights, transfolk have to get The Certificate. This is about policing us and making us acceptable deviants. Since a lot of the more genderqueer bits of the community, or people who don't go the medical route, are not likely to get The Certificate, this puts them at risk. (My reasons for not having one, when I was involved in negotiating the law, have to do with the fact that I am a procrastinator, though also with a vague reluctance to compromise with a settlement that I was not entirely happy with because of the way it enshrined the medical model so totally.) As I pointed out to the policeman yesterday, the Act is not supposed to supersede existing rights transfolk have acquired in law and practice over decades, nor is, say, the requirement of equality in provision of goods and services dependent on that bit of paper.
There are misconceptions creeping into the behaviour of eg banks as well as the police which need to be cleared up.
The other issue is the one mirrorshard
has written about well which is the unaccountability of the private security firms events are obliged to hire. These firms have no ideology nor any idea that they are supposed to reflect the ethos of the event they are helping to run. The sort of colossally inappropriate behaviour we saw yesterday is the sort of thing of which there will be more. Go read the post here
. Of especial concern is the fact that the police tend to see security people as in some sense part of the Job, unless they are known criminals, and take their side in conflicts.
Beyond the issue of getting Pride to take full responsibility for the behaviour of their employees and ensure they hire people who will do the job properly, and the issue of ensuring that all police, and most especially LGBT liaison people, have proper trans sensitivity training, these are the long-term important issues we will have to go on dealing with.
2. I would have been completely useless without the Translondon and FTM London people whi were there for me when I needed them. Natacha and Bird documented the demonstration as it was happening, and others put themselves on the line, getting shoved and mocked by the security women, and acting as my witness with the policeman. In all such events, it is the community that makes things possible, and not just any one individual; luckily, I learned this long ago, and, once I realized that there was a situation, went off and looked for backup rather than seeking martyrdom.
Always do actions as part of a group; always stay calm; always document.
Various things are in train - Christine Burns of PFC has been helpful and written some amazing letters, and pirates_daily
has been my guru on this as on so much else. We will get this sorted because a lot of influential people are on side on this. Also, half the transwomen on the planet seem to be friending my Facebook...
I was depressed yesterday by this - partly because, unconnectedly, I had earlier been hit in the head. Now I am feeling part of an empowered community. People tried to humiliate us yesterday, but we are smarter and stronger and we have, and are, Friends.