Wednesday, 20 October 2010

How the budget discriminates against young trans people.

Sometimes measures which are applied to everyone in the same way have a disproportionate affect on some groups of people. The new rule that all single people under 35 will not get housing benefit for a flat of their own looks as though it is equitable because it will affect everyone under 35 in the same way.

Not so. What if you are a trans person under 35 who is questioning their gender, who is unsure of their gender identity or knows they are trans but can't come out for fear of repercussions at work or with their parents? What if you are forced to share accommodation with other people? Suddenly that difficult process of coming out and figuring out your gender identity becomes much more fraught. suddenly you may find that the bullying and harrassment you get in the street, at college or at work comes home and you get hassle there as well. Effectively it forces you to come out to people who are essentially not your own group of friends.

This is goiung to hit transgender and gender variant young people very hard, to the extent that many will either continue to conceal their gender identities or be forced out of their homes by transphobic bullying. Young trans people are already a group with a high risk of poverty, unemployment and homelessness, this is just going to exacerbate the situation. This is one of the horrible measures which Cameron has announced, that will hit trans people hardest.

so what can people do? The first thing is to write to your MP. The second thing is to put a comment on Lynne Featherstone's blog about trans equality. Lynne Featherstone is Lib Dem minister for equality and a keen supporter of trans issues. Now is the time to ask her to put her money where her mouth is. We need to ask her, for the sake of all minority groups, to campaign against this measure in government, and if that fails at least to permit transgender people under 35 to obtain housing benefit for small flats on their own. To do otherwise is going to hit these people very hard and possibly even lead to more deaths from suicide. This is something there is already too much of.

3 comments:

  1. You make some very good points that i believe alot of people have not considered. I myself have an incurable health condition and i dread to think of the reaction it will receive when disclosing this to potential house/flat sharers. I just hope that somehow over the internet people in similar situations can come together where respect is shared and fear removed from living with people that cant understand and stigmatise us

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Nick. I am, sure there are loads of people with different "problems" who will be in trouble with this. They should start campaigning now or they could find themselves homeless...

    ReplyDelete
  3. > What if you are a trans person under 35 who is questioning
    > their gender, who is unsure of their gender identity or knows
    > they are trans but can't come out for fear of repercussions at
    > work or with their parents?

    What if you are a man or woman under 35 who has transitioned and has the right to privacy about that highly sensitive medical fact that can be a matter of life or death in a misinformed and sometimes bigoted or fearful world? How much privacy - or indeed safety - can anyone have who shares a home with a stranger?

    Unfortunately most trans campaigners place little or no weight on the need for privacy, being either "out" themselves, or mistaking trans for being like L&G and so using such mistaken concepts as "closet" and seeing privacy as harmful. But all transsexual children wish to only known as the sex of their identity, and most post-SRs women live that way sooner or later.

    It was remarkable that "privacy" was completely unmentioned in the Equality and Human Rights Commissions recent triennial review, despite it being an essential factor in quality of life.

    But then we know, thanks to the efforts of the women's equality group, The Fawcett Society, that HM Treasury totally ignored the legal requirement to do an Equality Impact Assessment on the budget, so all such factors were ignored anyway. Hopefully that big omission will mean that changes will be made.

    If we had any lawyers or a statutory human rights organisation on our side, in seeing privacy as vital, we could do the same as Fawcett and ask the courts to order the necessary reconsideration. If only.

    ReplyDelete