Oxford City Council

On 29th November 2021 Oxford City Council passed a trans inclusivity motion.

A representative from TransOxford was asked to speak in support of this prior to the debate. Here is the motion and the speech.

Becoming a trans inclusive Council (proposer Cllr Pegg, seconder Cllr Jarvis)

Green Group Member Motion

 

This Council states that:

Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Non-binary people are non-binary. We believe in the dignity of all people, and their right to respect and equality of opportunity. We value the strength that comes with difference and the positive contribution diversity brings to our community. Our aspiration is for Oxford to be a safe, welcoming and inclusive city for everyone, no matter their gender identity.

 

The Council notes:

  1. The concerning rise in transphobia in the UK, from individuals, politicians and the media, as well as the increasing severity of the threats faced by the trans community. 

  2. That transgender and non-binary people may require specific support to access services without facing discrimination. All council services must be equipped to provide appropriate service and good customer care to suit transgender and non-binary people.

  3. That there are transgender and non-binary people in Oxford of all ages, and that the need for better understanding and acceptance of what it means to be transgender or non-binary is an intergenerational issue. 

  4. The vital work done by groups in Oxford to support local trans and non-binary people, as well as the wider LGBTQIA+ community. These groups include ArkT, Oxford Pride, TransOxford and Topaz. 

  5. That despite many positive initiatives there is always more to do to ensure we are a genuinely supportive, inclusive and welcoming city. The council will seek to better support transgender and non-binary people to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives. 

  6. That transgender and non-binary people may face intersecting struggles due to factors like their race, religion, socio-economic background, gender or sexuality.

 

This Council therefore resolves to:

  1. State publicly that trans rights are human rights and affirm the legal rights of all protected groups under the 2010 equality act.

  2. Work with LGBTQIA+ groups and people to strongly encourage training for councillors and council staff to raise awareness of the difficulties transgender and non-binary people face and the support they can offer to this community. 

  3. Request that the Cabinet agrees to fly the transgender flag on International Trans Day of Visibility (March 31st), in addition to Trans Day of Remembrance (November 20th) 

  4. Request a review of all forms and documents created by the Council with a view to ensuring they are trans and non-binary inclusive where possible.

  5. To encourage council staff and councillors to make small gestures that make it clear transgender and non-binary people are welcome. This could include adding pronouns to email signatures and providing gender neutral toilets in Council buildings. 

  6. To work with partner organisations to ensure transgender and non-binary people are not discriminated against whilst accessing homelessness services. 

  7. To work with healthcare providers and Oxfordshire County Council to remove barriers transgender and non-binary people face when accessing medical care. 

  8. To review with a view to improving signposting to support services for transgender and non-binary people within Council communications, including a dedicated page on the Council’s website. 

Speech by Hannah Massie

In support of Transgender Inclusion Motion

Oxford City Council 29/11/2021

 

Ladies, Gentlemen and Enbees

My name Is Hannah Massie and I am from TransOxford, a group that provides support for Transgender folks within Oxford and throughout Oxfordshire. I’d like to take a couple of minutes to explain why the motion on trans inclusivity is important not just to us trans folks, but all of us.

You see, in 2016 some groups with extreme political and religious views declared being transgender went against their ideological beliefs and started a campaign to, to quote from their strategy document, eradicate transgender folks from society.

Using familiar long practised tactics they set about pushing propaganda and misinformation, that you will almost certainly have seen and heard in the media, which demonised transgender folks and their allies as dangerous activists whose existence, demands and rights posed a threat to and silenced women, children and ordinary folks. They set up organisations supposedly working for the good of certain causes but whose real purpose has been to stir up transphobia and to split transgender folks from their support and society. They funded and publicised expensive legal cases to challenge trans rights, their access to healthcare and support from public and other bodies. They have been pushing that being transgender is a dangerous false ideology.

Now, let me make it clear. Gender is biological. Gender is neurological and gender is genetically determined. Though you may not be aware of it, each and every one of you has a unique gender identity that tells you who you are and where you belong, hardwired into your brain by your biology, by your genes. This you are born with and it is not something you can change. And your gender identities, indeed all of our identities exist across a spectrum that we, as a society, choose to divide into two, just as we do the spectrum of sex characteristics. But these divisions are flawed:  There is no only male or female, and more enlightened societies divide differently – many into three but some up to five.

Because for some of us the gender we are assigned at birth based on our sex characteristics does not match the gender biology has given us. We are transgender. This is not an ideology. It is what we are. Biologically.  It is not something we choose, nor could or would ever choose. It is not something we can be coerced into being, grow out of, cured of nor converted from being. It is an extraordinarily challenging condition, that leads to frighteningly high levels of mental illness, self-harm and suicidality, and is hugely difficult and time consuming to deal with.

But does that make us a demanding dangerous threat to society? No of course not. I have two degrees, have run my own business for many years, have children who think I’m awesome and have set up, run and been involved in numerous community groups over the years, including the church. My trans friends, male, female and non-binary are lawyers, doctors, scientists, airline pilots, counsellors, academics, nurses, builders and so on. Ordinary people who want to be able to live ordinary lives, true to themselves, just as you do. And are my rights as a woman threatened by my rights as someone who is transgender? Absolutely not and I, of all people, should know.

As a small diverse and already challenged community we have struggled to counter this insidious and harmful campaign. So, I come here to ask for your support because we need support and help, and that needs to come from chambers like this; this chamber. Please educate yourselves and help us to challenge the claims being made against us and expose their falsehood, to call out the misinformation and those promoting it.

If you believe racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia is wrong, if you believe segregation and discrimination based on skin colour, sex characteristics, sexuality, disability and neuro diversity is wrong then I would hope you would support this motion, as there is no difference between these and transphobia, or, as some try to call it, being ‘Gender critical’ and wanting segregation and discrimination against people because of the gender their biology has given them. And if you think otherwise or believe the propaganda then please consider the words of Oliver Cromwell, ‘I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, to think it possible you may be mistaken´. On behalf of all the trans folks in Oxford, thank you for your time and thank you, I hope, for your support.