This morning (September 24th) I was invited to take part in Radio 5 Live’s Your Call with Nicky Campbell. The programme was pitched as a conversation about gender and was asking the question of whether we should be more neutral about how we approach the subject. I was asked to take part in the programme in my capacity as a trans advocate and gender specialist, to help navigate the language and provide insight on some of the concepts being discussed.
I have taken part in many such conversations, since I began specialising in this area of medicine and, as you can imagine, not all of them have been quite as educational as I had hoped they might be. This was, I am pleased to say, the exception to the rule.
It did not turn out to be ‘yet another gender debate’, instead it was a conversation between a group of people whose lives have been touched by trans issues. No one was there to question the validity of the existence of gender variance, no one was saying trans people shouldn’t exist.
There was an open-minded 50 year old caller, asking for clarification on some of the terminology; a parent of a gender questioning child, talking us through the ways in which they are exploring their journey, together. There were inspiring gender variant people who were sharing their lived experiences first hand.
It made such a refreshing change and was the start of a conversation which we need to be having more of: How do we welcome trans people into our society, how do we encourage them to feel safe and how do we encourage those who do not understand to be better informed, rather than to stand in judgement.
As Nicky Campbell stated as he signed off: “Isn’t it just a message for humanity, in the short time that we are on this rock in this corner of the universe, that we should be able to live how we want to live and let others do exactly the same?”
Transgender, non-binary and gender questioning people need support as opposed to judgement, and we can all be trans allies. You can read some of the stories posted by members of the GenderGP community here: https://gendergp.com/about-us/yourstories/
Listen again to full programme here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000g3x