We're back with our new re-branded podcast, Diversity Unplugged!
In this episode, we chat with Eva Echo about what's in the news with trans people, why have they suddenly been put in the spotlight and also, what does matcha taste like?
Follow Eva here: https://www.instagram.com/evaech0/
Sources used in the episode:
Hi, thank you for making the journey. How you feeling? How's your journey? What happened?
On my journey
I'm not gonna lie, I did take a cheeky detour because I was like, you know what I'm feeling? I'm feeling bougie and fancy. I need a beverage, and I'm going to do a podcast today. So I went to my favourite coffee shop around my local area and got a Macha latte; iced one, but then they put a shot of Violet.
Like, you know, like part of, like, yeah, you know, and I was like, ohh never had this before.
So yeah, that's.
Did it taste of?
Parma violets. Yeah, but with Macha it's it's great.
What does Matcha taste like?
I describe much.
I've had matcha but I just I don't know how that would interact with Palma Violets. I don't understand. So was it like eating a drinking a Parma Violet?
Yeah, but with an earthier taste.
Welcome to my food podcast, where I describe food terribly.
Yeah, you can you.
Can speak to that camera there. That's your. That's your.
It's earthy and sweet matcha with violet. Yeah so that was my way in; and earthy/bougie was my vibe. So what was? How was yours?
So I had I had someone come up to me when I was at the at the gate and they asked to walk through the gate with me.
And they're like, OK, they were. Excuse me. Yeah. And I took my. It's like, hello...?
And she she went ohh, can I just walk to the gate with you? And I I was like I-I don't... no? And she went ohh. Please?
Sorry. No. She's like "OK then" and then.
I then went and I went a little bit away from them because, like, I was a little bit scared because I'm just scared of all people talking to me when I'm.
On the transport network because.
People and then went through and they were still there on the other side of the barriers when I walked. But it was just very odd. I didn't.
They were very polite, like normally when people like push themselves to the barrier with you, you don't really have a choice and they just kind of like shove. Like busy they shove in with you. But this person was exceptionally polite, so I hope I hope they managed to get where.
They wanted to go.
That was a really polite interaction.
That's why is it really confusing to me
Yeah. Polite, polite, fair evasion. Yeah, yeah.
Who are you?
Oh, who am I? Hi, I'm Yani King. My pronouns are she/her and I'm a diversity inclusion consultant at Diversifying Group.
And I am James, James Burns and my pronouns are he, him, and I am the digital marketing consultant for Diversifying Group
Thanks for coming here. I'm really, really grateful. This is the first episode of Diversity Unplugged!
I'm very excited.
So today in this brand new.
Series of Diversity Unplugged.
We are seeing Eva Echo.
I am very excited.
I'm a big fan. I am very fan.
Yeah. How long have you known Eva Echo for?
For maybe just over a year, yeah.
And how and what did you find? How did you find them?
I just... I just love how like they call the stuff out on on social media. Like it's just like it's just like well.
I'm trying not to swear.
Yeah. And you can see.
It like, yeah, I'm just like, oh, that ******** with that ****. You can't just paste up. And I just like how they just call it out and says it how it is, but also explain it in such a way that it's very accessible to everyone. And that's why I really love them.
We can we.
Can bleep it out.
Very, very excited and I can't wait for the conversation.
And what I'm gonna learn. Yeah. Welcome. Hi.
Hello, thank you so much for coming down to to talk to us. I I really appreciate.
But who are you? Tell us a bit
Well, my name is Eva Echo. My pronouns are she/they... Where do I begin? I'm an activist writer, public speaker, I'm director of innovation at Birmingham Pride. I'm one of the directors at Trans in the City. And I'm also an ambassador for the charity
Diversity role models.
I'm also a bit of a bit of a loudmouth on social media. I like to call out social injustice and just challenge it, really. And I basically kind of use my platforms and my positions to do what I can for the LGBTQ+ community, especially the trans community.
Nice, cool. And when did you pick
Up the mantle?
I don't think it's an active choice. You know, no one ever thinks never. Ohh, I'm gonna be an activist. Actually came out and thought I'll just medically transition socially, transition and then I'll just slot back into life and it never happens. Naively, I started a blog.
Online. And thought no-one's gonna read it.
There are millions of pages online who's going to read mine, but people did they connected and I think through that I realised quite soon after me coming out, which was about six years ago. It's not just me, this issue of trans healthcare, trans rights and things like that. It goes way beyond me as an individual. What?
Can I do what can?
I do with my privilege?
Which so just, I don't know. Help. Help others. You know whether it's those around me now or the next generation so that they don't have to go through what
I went through. What can I do to make things a little bit easier? And I just kind of started from there really. So I kind of fell into it thinking I'll just have a dabble. No idea what I'm actually doing. I don't think there's ever an instruction manual.
Activism. Yeah. Yeah. So just kind of went from that. And I really love it. I think I'm so.
I'm so neuro spicy and so stubborn.
When I get my teeth into stuff.
And any sort of injustice I feel like I have to correct it. And there's this urge of wanting justice. And I can't for some reason rest. I sound like Batman now, but I can't rest until there is justice.
Happens like a lot of people.
Especially working in DNI, so I'm a diversity inclusion consultant and there's always a pathway that you're like, oh, I didn't realise that I would fall into that. But then you look at everything in your life like.
Oh, actually, yeah, I.
I can see why I'm that now.
Now it's like things just like. Yeah, I was talking about this when I was a kid. I was talking with my parents, and I was talking about at, uni, and then all my friends. And then suddenly like, oh, now I'm here and I can't settle if, like, there's
Something I wanna call out. I have to just how do I do it in my power to do it. And yeah, and that's something I really love about you is like, that's. So we were talking about this podcast idea I was like.
I think this is a really good guest to put on, because I really love their activism on online and I love how you call it
out. I just.
Love it and you do it so well and also you just like you connect with so many people. So when you did your video saying so.
Sorry and like it was just so like.
Authentic. And it came from so humanistic place and and I think that's why why everyone like is so appreciated of you and. Ohh yeah. Sorry. I'm just like.
having a fangirl moment now
I'm doing a podcast, what?
We all fall into it basically by accident, sorry. Now that's off my chest.
Well, that, that's that's actually a really good first, I guess like thing talk about is that you legally took the NHS to court over there like treatment of trans people in, or treatment of trans people in the healthcare system.
Can you tell us a little bit about that cause that was, that was fascinating I that crossed my like news feed independently of knowing who you were. So that really... that went somewhere.
Yeah, I mean, I guess that's peak activism when you get to that level. For me, the moment I heard that this was a possibility, I'm like.
Yes. Where do I sign? So yeah, working with good law projects and some other claimants. We basically took NHS England to the High Court for a judicial review because of the trans healthcare waiting times at the moment. So NHS England has an 18 week referral to
Treatment target and the idea is 92% of patients referred are seen within 18 weeks for their first appointment and by and large that does happen. However, with trans people it's openly measured in years. So you're looking at around five years for a first appointment
at the moment and then this is without mental health support. Yeah. So for me personally, I remember coming out that moment of euphoria, that moment where I think, hey, well, this is me.
Only to be told, yeah, we don't know when we can see you. It's like this huge anti climax and...
I remember how that was such a kick in the teeth and I thought, well, if there's anything I can.
Do to help fix it. Challenge it definitely so working with the good law project we spent. I think it's about two years or so. Building the case, trying to negotiate, trying to speak to NHS England about our.
Concerns and we were basically citing that it's unlawful to leave patients waiting in limbo and not actually.
Create anything or put anything in place that makes sure that you do better. So yeah, we.
We said that.
It was unlawful because it's it's a legal target, you know, what's the point otherwise of having a target if there's no?
If there's no real needs, and if you feel like it, you feel.
Like it? If not, don't worry.
And because people's lives are at stake, I've lost, you know, good, good friends, because they just can't wait any longer. Yeah, and for trans youths, it's even more important because you've got this limited window for puberty blockers to be able to to take effect. And contrary to what people say, it's not like they just hand out puberty blockers like Tic Tacs.
(Other candy is available) Yeah. I mean, there's a long waiting period for trans youths as it is. And then when you get there, there's a very robust diagnosis system, which takes a long time. So the sooner trans you get on to that, that that kind.
Conveyor belt if you want to call it that, the sooner they can start reaching that that puberty blocker point. Otherwise, what's the point of having puberty blockers? If by the time they're on a waiting list for about 3 years, you've missed it? Mental health trauma on top of that and yeah. So we we basically took them to the High Court.
We were there last November. Unfortunately, we we weren't successful last November.
Because the the, the, the judge basically said that it wasn't a legal target, it was just more of a a duty target, more of an administrative target. But when we submitted our application or made our intentions known to appeal, he did actually
say he would allow an appeal against his own decision, which for a High Court judge is very rare to allow it, and he did cite at the time that there was a good, you know, good prospects that the Court of Appeal judges would find differently. So we went ahead with the appeal.
But that's not before. We also secured a decision within that judgement, although the the main part of it wasn't going our way, the judge did agree that trans youths are covered under the Equality Act because NHS England were arguing that under the Equality Act, you have to
propose to undergo gender transition now under eighteens.
Is that in order to
Be protected by the equality.
Yes, because the wording within the Equality Act is very specific, right is undergoing, or proposes to undergo gender transition.
But when you are under 18, you can't. You're not allowed to surgery, you can't have HRT.
Umm. Puberty blockers. You know it's it's reversible. So and even then access to them is very difficult. The only thing you can actually do is socially transition. Yeah, but we were able to to demonstrate that that in itself is all you can do. And therefore that is that trans youth's intention or proposal
to undergo. That's their commitment and that's all they can do at that point in their lives, and therefore
that they are- they are doing it and therefore they are covered. So we'll, you know, we're we're really, really happy that we managed to get that. We went to the Court of Appeal recently. So our case was heard and unfortunately we weren't successful again they ruled that it wasn't a legal duty and and that is incredibly frustrating.
Yeah, cause where does it leave? I mean, at the moment in England alone, there are about 2800 patients waiting for a first appointment with no mental health support, no end in sight. And my particular gender clinic is the laurels in Exeter.
And and I was. I've been on that list since 2017 and I still haven't had a first appointment. A recent, I think it's a Freedom of Information request. Recent one found that the average waiting time at the laurels is about 90 months for a first appointment. Now, when you get there, it's not just
"Here's your diagnosis." You have to be assessed by two independent clinicians. There's a wait in between those appointments. If you need further assessment, then obviously more appointments.
If you are then diagnosed, you're then put on another waiting list to begin HRT, which from the moment you have your first appointment could be two years. Before you begin, HRT and HRT itself is a long process. It's like two or three years. Yeah. And then if you want gender-affirming surgery, you've got a wait of about
12-18 months, depending on what type of surgery. So by the time you've actually
gotten anywhere? It's probably been the best part of like 9 years for me. It's probably looking about 10-11 years before I reached that stage where.
I could put myself forward for gender affirming surgery.
Yeah. See, you said Exeter; So my friend went to University of Exeter and then they must have gone to the laurels with them. That gender clinic. And then they graduated and then they moved back home.
Which is all the way in Kent, but they didn't want to stop going to the laurels because.
Because they didn't want to get, like, lost in the system in the NHS. So they were travelling down all the way from Kent all the way to Exeter.
And that's a
long journey just so they could get that access and that's just isn't it just shows how. Ohh, hello rage just shows how
difficult it is.
And then they it.
I remember them going. I was working with them. They were going down like they would take annual leave just to go all the way down there, stay the night, go see their appointment, then go.
Back and just to have like one appointment just to say like, yeah, OK, you can go do this now. And just to have that all those barriers.
Is in the way, yeah.
Meanwhile, you say about the tic tac thing. Other candy is available, contraception when you're like a teen girl, and they were like, Yep, sure. Just take all this stuff. All the mental health
That goes with it.
Yeah, fine. Same with antidepressants if.
You if you go to a GP and.
OK, I'm feeling down. You know, I've not been in the best of moods. They're so quick to issue, and the presence these days literally just handing them out. No. You know, you don't need a clinical diagnosis or anything like that. Yeah. And I think it's worth pointing out that when we look at HRT, it's like the stuff I'm on is the same stuff that menopausal women are on. Like, there's no difference. They can literally go into a GP.
talk about their symptoms and
I wouldn't say fast track.
But compared to trans people, yeah, trans women, they can get access to HRT and begin treatment so much quicker. In fact, some pharmacies are able to now issue HRT to save the weight and the the pressure on GP surgeries. So certain pharmacies are able to to issue prescriptions for for basic over the counter medicine.
But for trans women, you have to have a diagnosis from 2 independent clinicians, who then must make sure that their opinions about your transness meet and and are agreeable. Then you have to see an endocrinologist. Then they'll assess you. Then they can say, yes, you can have HRT. And I think it's also worth saying that
before gender dysphoria, clinics were set up.
HRT and trans people were treated with in the primary care system, so within GP, the idea of the gender dysphoric clinics is to alleviate pressure from the GP's because of demand.
At the end of the day, GPS, as long as we train them, they know what to do. It's the same stuff. Puberty blockers are. They are not. They are not a trans people think as much as everyone associates puberty blockers, as you know, trans youths. They are routinely prescribed to
to youngsters going through precocious puberty and and you know they don't need this
clinician to diagnose them, they are able to just say here's the prescription. Probably missed out the steps there. By and large, it's so much easier and but The thing is, the moment you say trans is like, ohh, hang on a second, let's shut those doors. Let's see what else we need first. And it's just it's a result of the fact that trans people are so medicalised.
We're so politicised at the moment that you can't do anything regarding a trans person without there being so much scrutiny, yeah.
Have you seen anything change in like the past of?
Well, since you started transitioning so six years.
There's been more trans people coming out. Yeah, that's for sure.
And that's attributed to just people wanting to be themselves. You know, as much as some people say it's a phase, it's a trend. It really isn't, you know, like we we think back to
Do you remember when, like it was found upon to be left-handed and there's, like, you know, if if people at school are, you know, you read about them getting, like, hit on the hand if there's an old school kind of teaching system, you have to use a right hand because that was accepted. It wasn't accepted to be left-handed. But people are naturally
left-handed. Yeah. And when that was kind of lifted and it was OK, it was acceptable. There's a sudden boom in left-handed people. Yeah, almost overnight. And that's not because everyone decided to think you.
know what I'm going to jump
On this they were just hiding who they were. Yeah, and. And that's essentially the same thing with, with with trans people. So there has been a huge increase. Yeah. And I guess that does scare people. It's like, you know, who are these people who've come out of the woodwork all of a sudden? Where are they coming from and why now? And we look at social factors.
Like for example a pandemic.
We've all gone through a global pandemic that's really put life into perspective for all of us. Yeah. You know, a lot of people.
Who may be thinking I'm going to take this chance to be me because I could have died during that pandemic. Who knows what could have happened? I'm going to do it. Plus also when we're in lockdown.
You can't go out and express yourself and you start thinking well. I need to be me and that drives this notion that.
Now you deserve to be you. Yeah, regardless. So it gave people a lot of thought. I think most importantly, social media has allowed people to connect. People to see that. What? You know what is possible. When I was younger, I had no representation at all. Being a person of colour, being queer, I never thought I could be
me. Yeah. And now seeing on social media that it is possible, it's it's really inspiring for other people. Yeah. When I first started on social media as me, I really found it inspirational to see
that there are people despite societies objections. There were people just thinking, you know what? I'm just going to be me and.
I don't care.
Yeah. I think also during lockdown we had a lot of time just.
That banana bread and and crossing and all that.
Yeah, that was great.
I mean, apart from the rest of it, Animal Crossing.
And banana bread.
Was great, yeah.
That, yeah, the situation that places us there horrendous but...
So great. Yeah, I think we all had our meltdown in our own little way.
Ohh absolutely yeah.
My wife and I have a like we we used to have a tattoo studio that we ran together and gradually when I came out, I took more time away from that. So I was managing, but I stepped away to kind of get involved with activism and get involved with other organisations more. But yeah, when when lockdown here we were like
What do we do? So yeah, for me, there's like this three-week period of.
Just. Yeah, complete meltdown. I was drinking gin for breakfast. I was playing Animal Crossing at ridiculous times. Yeah.
Just yeah, life came to a standstill. Life had no real meaning.
But for me, that was an awakening because it forced me to interact with the world differently. And that's for the first time I actually use social media and like use video. Yeah, before I was so scared I would like I do media interviews, but I'd insist on some sort of read back. I'd have to if it was video, I'd have to scrutinise it. I was really uncomfortable with who I was.
But being in lockdown, I just thought you know what?
I can't change any of this. Yeah, if I want to communicate with people, I have to think of other ways. Started doing Instagram lives and all sorts. And I think for.
Me, that was a catalyst towards communicating with people, reaching out to people and being able to use my platform a lot more.
I love that. I my my experience over lockdown was similar to yours of but it sort of gin for breakfast it was more like wine at lunch. Nice. And so I haven't become a wine connoisseur. It's still like Red, White, Rose. Yeah.
Just the colours.
The cheapest one, why do you say house?
But you can't go to the supermarket, and say
I'll have the house.
Sainsbury's House wine please. Or like whatever it was, it was. Yeah, it was. It was a. It was an interesting time. But Animal Crossing that was my escapism. Yeah, no. Me neither.
Not been back since I've probably had my island repossessed by Tom Nook.
Well, he doesn't charge interest on your loan, so he's a very, very patient creditor.
That said, that raccoon scares me.
But he's a friendly face of capitalism. It's all fun.
Talking about seeing more, trans people being more visible and it's very interesting you say that actually because the census for the first time published data about people, people expressing their gender identity and
And so, officially, census data in 2023 said that 262,000 people over the age of 16 said that their gender identity was different to their birth sex and and obviously the actual real figure will be much higher. But
I have a small appreciation for the fact that stuff like that is now actually being looked at and slightly measured by at least an apolitical arm of government.
One thing. So when I was when I was researching this podcast, researching things to talk about in this podcast, one thing that really, really like really struck me was the change of attitude that government has had over maybe the past, like five or six years.
Because when when "Tresse" May was Prime Minister, that is Theresa May for people who are normal, she.
She was announcing let me just find it. She announced that.
She wants to reform, yeah.
The Gender Recognition Act. Yeah, and I just.
I want to read a quote, because this is the Conservatives in 2018 and this is the Conservative government, so the unchanged political party that is still in power now, yes. But just yeah, five, five years ago; it's been it's been harrowing five years
Yes, but just the the tone of this press release that they put out really struck me. So Theresa May said.
Last year I committed to carrying out a consultation on the Gender Recognition Act and I'm pleased to be able to launch that today. What was clear from our survey is that transgender people across the UK find the process of legally challenging their gender overly bureaucratic and invasive. I want to see a process that is more streamlined, demedicalised , because being trans should never be treated
As an illness and then the Minister for Women and Equalities, Penny Morton said.
The discrimination and bigotry that the trans community currently faces is unacceptable in today's society. We need a culture change in response to our national LGBT survey. Trans people have told us that the current system to legally change their gender isn't working, and they find the process bureaucratic, costly and intrusive. We want to help people thrive and to go about their daily life.
Living in the gender they chose without intrusion or fear of humiliation, this consultation is a better chance for us to change the current system for the better and I look forward to.
Hearing everyone's views.
And I found that really hard to read because it I was shocked that that is the same. Well, it's not the same Conservative government, but it's the Conservative government that has remained unchanged. Ish.
Save 9 prime ministers and the yeah, but like I was just so shocked that the party that was in power then is the party that's in power now and they're now just spouting the complete opposite.
We've had a.
Few chancellors since.
And if you have any thoughts on that 'cause, I just mine was shock, I just didn't have any other words other than just being totally surprised. Not surprised, but totally surprised you know?
I mean, I think the the biggest surprise is.
That the the MP's that backed that potential reform are the same MP's that are now saying trans people are dangerous.
You know this trans agenda, but I don't know. We're out to steal single sex spaces. Changing rooms...
Women's rights and all that.
And you only have to look.
At the top because.
That's where it comes from. You know, when we look at a Conservative government that is clinging on to power right now, they need something. And they had a really strong 80-seat majority under Boris Johnson. And that's just kind of been spaffed away
Over however many months
And it's gone downhill for them, really. So they need something. And what's more divisive than trans people and migrants? They're hmm. They're the two things that really get people talking. Now, when we look at the trans people.
The Conservative government was committed to creating change. They were very open to it.
But that public consultation also gave rise to gender critical views, and since then those views have just been snowballing. A lot of misinformation out there, a lot of just just straight up lies at the end of day.
And it because those views came to prominence. It's really made people think, ohh, hang on a minute. Have they got something? Well, no, they haven't. But these people are really well connected and they have, you know, financial backing. They've got a lot of power, a lot of sway and connections with 55 Tufton Street. So.
They hold a lot of power, so when we look at a government that is clinging on to power and they see people who are able to help them, then it's a no brainer that they they come together and they really work together and think you know what.
If we work with you, let's portray trans people in a certain way, then that gives us favour with the public. And yeah, it really has gone downhill ever since. You know, when we look at other countries, Ireland have had self ID since 2015. Not a single issue. In fact, they were quite shocked that there was hardly.
Any take up
Of it, you know it's there. 2022 last year was Argentina's 10th anniversary of Self ID, though the first country to to introduce it
And when you look at a country like Argentina and you think the UK, Argentina, why are they beating us on something so simple on basic human rights? But you know, they've not had a single incident of it being abused. Any men don't putting themselves through this system, cisgender men and I might add.
Putting themselves through this system to, you know, to to attack women, to, to, to abuse women.
There are more and more countries are adopting this. Only recently Germany I think was yesterday announced that their proposal to amend their gender recognition laws have been accepted. It still needs to go through Parliament. But yeah, that that is along with similar, you know, similar lines to Ireland, Argentina, other countries where it's more of a statutory.
declaration. Scotland, the end of last year, it was Scottish Parliament's longest consultation period of about six years. Cross party support is unanimous.
Yeah, I was.
It got blocked from royal assent and the reason it got blocked was because there was allegedly conflicts with the Equality Act, even though the documents clearly stated there is no conflict even on the government's own website, it stated there are no conflict. Suddenly this this fear
cropped up and everyone's like, hang on a minute. Women's spaces are going to be removed, you know, women's rights are gonna be taken away. But the fact is, trans rights enhance women's rights. Trans women are women. Trans women go through, you know, virtually the same oppression as women.
Therefore, we need to work together, not segregate all the different types. I mean being trans is it's just one part of our identity. Trans is, as is an identifier. You know, if you take out trans and you put black in there Jewish, it's it's suddenly OK to be saying that black women are dangerous.
Jewish women are dangerous. They're here to take your rights.
No, but why is it OK to do so with trans people? So yeah, that's that's been blocked from royal assent. And when we look at legal recognition.
It has nothing to do with single sex bases. One was the last time anyone had to produce a birth certificate to go into a changing room, going to a toilet. In fact, many people have gender neutral toilets at home.
Yeah, this drives me mad!
Every every bathroom in every.
Home is gender neutral.
It's like what? Why are you getting so? Like, I was like, oh, I can't go in there because it's it's not, it's gendered. And I'm like, but where do you
Like everyone does it, like, get over yourself.
I mean, I live in London and I dream to have two bathrooms like I like... wow. Just imagine. Imagine the privilege. This is. This is very like very London specific. Mine is forcibly gender neutral.
Yeah, all your. All your other guests, like your female guests can go to.
The other bathroom. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's just like, yeah, it's just like, this is.
The man bathroom.
The man bathroom for the man.
Like what? What it. It's just it's crazy.
Yeah, I went to a gig on Sunday, and they had gendered toilets on this festival.
And then it was a very like it was a very queer gig. So it was like, boy Junius Mooner, Ethel Kane and Soak and.
Everyone was like why?
Are they gender toilets and everyone
Was like, read the room.
Are you doing?
And it was that whole like.
It was great because all of us are behind each.
Other just like this is ridiculous.
But even then, like I've been to so many, I've been to as if I'm going out all the time, I can't afford it. Like I've been to so many like gigs, venues and spaces that have "gendered" toilets. They'll be like they'll be expressly done that way. But the toilets are then cubicles, and they are
Like there is nothing like, there's no differentiator and like I'll be with like my female friend and we'll be like, is your cubicle and we'll just, like, open the door, go like it's it's the same. And that that's just expresses to me how even more stupid it is because...
Yeah. Look at
Trains public transport, like on coaches, trains. They are all gender neutral toilets and no one had an issue with any of this until just fairly recently. Yeah, I think it's worth pointing out that had the Scottish gender recognition reform been allowed royal assent, then it would literally.
Prove everyone wrong. All those people in power in certain influential spaces who are have been saying for years. You know this will be detrimental to women's rights if it goes through. Give it six months, 12 months, two years.
Nothing changes. You're gonna look pretty stupid. Yeah. And you know when you've got government clinging on to power who are saying we've got to protect women's rights. If this is allowed to go through and nothing happens, they'll just be proven liars. And that's when people start thinking, well, what else have you not been honest about as well? So it does chip away.
at that, and there's even more reason for them to find reason to block it. But yeah, I mean, when we look at things like Section 28, it was Scotland that repealed Section 28 first; leading the way against Scotland are are creating this and
If Scotland hadn't have repealed Section 28 when it did, who knows what would have happened for that for the UK as a whole in terms of LGBTQ+ education and and it takes 1 country or one system to go against the grain to really prove that it doesn't change anything. In fact, yeah, you know, it actually liberates people. Yeah.
I find it really fascinating that the government
have picked this battle to cling on to power with because I'm sounds sounds very cynical and a bit harrowing. It's like I'm kind of used to the immigration like migrants, refugees argument. That's that's the drum that's been beaten for a long time and
obviously, the political consequences of
that are being felt; mentioning no specific big political events that have happened maybe in 2016 and about June.
Certainly not beginning B.
With no it would. It wouldn't be and
I guess it it I'm I'm curious as to why this group of people and why now? Because I don't know. They always seem to manage to stoke up some kind of like argument over migration. It's just like...
You need something else to.
argue about and it just
I think it's like so if you look at like the media, I think it's like a just a massive buildup.
From just different things. So like so, one thing that we're.
Doing ohh hello. Why do I keep getting you?
So one thing that we've been doing as a company is we've been trying to produce more white papers and something that I'm working on is a media analysis of trans experiences.
particularly workplace and and basically I had the greatest joy of going through different papers, Daily Mail for three days and tracking over like the past five years.
Did you have some time off afterwards?
There was a lot of.
Need a coffee? Yeah.
Yeah. And then you then you reading the Daily Mail and you've got, like, caffeine jitters.
It's like, yeah, cortisol but yeah. So I've been doing that and you'll just see, like, there's a lot of things I've just build up and you're like, oh, so This is why.
This is happening and.
Things like Stonewall and having that people getting angry with what they were doing and they had like mermaids, and then it's just like just trying to build up and then trying to move away from things that that we're actually doing. So you can just kind of see it and track it and.
I think well, you'll find out in a few months when we publish it the paper, but you can see this build up in like the number of articles and it's it's particularly 2021 is when it's just like.
We're gonna do this. We're gonna go hard at the trans people, yeah.
And it's particularly around... Ohh also Stonewall, mermaids and then freedom of speech within universities. Hmm. And it was people who have what they call it. What do they call it under the is it gender, critical voices or gender critical views.
Are being banned from these spaces in university.
And basically does not allow him to have that freedom of speech. And that's building up. So obviously the government has been like, oh, that's a highlight thing. Let's do that. And then because they're friends with the media, they're just like, yeah, keep on doing that because, you know, that's spiralling.
Yeah, pretty much.
So they're they're using the university is not allowing gender critical voices as like their gateway.
Yeah. And other things are happening. So like Stonewall and more rejecting Stonewall because.
Something around trans.
I I don't. I I don't understand this, maybe I'm maybe I'm not well read enough.
To get a new job, but I don't understand why people are rejecting Stonewall, like what's happened?
It was around. It was basically they were having a lot of recommendations that people were feeling uncomfortable with and they weren't sure about it, but they were trying to adopt it. But people in the company were uncomfortable with it and it was basically around
Trans inclusion, yeah.
It's trans inclusion basically, and and things one of them was toilet. So it comes back to the toilet problem which is not a problem because everyone has a gender neutral toilet at home and it was that recommendation. And then Ohh another spice they add in there as well. JK Rowling.
I was. I was really hoping to.
Not talk about her.
I know, I know.
That's a whole
Topic. Yeah, we need another episode for that. Yeah, I don't.
But basically because of that and just being the terf kind of sentiment just fueled that, yeah. So it's just like all these little.
it was a pile-on the end of the day. They they took something that they could spin and media really ran with it.
And they highlighted company after company that had, you know, allegedly.
Walked away from this Stonewall programme, but what they didn't report was how many companies stuck with it
Yeah, so many.
Yeah. So many are are still part of that inclusion programme and still use Stonewall and you know, we don't hear about that. So it plays into this very carefully painted picture of how things are for trans people at the moment.
And yet it's really shocking that the media
are essentially out for 262,000 people in England and Wales. Scotland has its own census data and you know we we don't know what what the make up of trans people are up in Scotland. But when we look at England and Wales, 262,000 that we know of.
Of that roughly 45,000 identify as trans female. So.
I mean, when we talk about trans rights in the media, it's always trans women that they're talking about. Never trans men, always trans women. But they say trans people because then they they they're not discriminating, are they? They say trans people, but it is trans women. Yeah. So when you look at the government and the media going after 45,000 people roughly.
I was, yeah.
Why, when we've got about 64/65 million people in in the UK cost of living, there's problems with migration, people can't get houses.
This is there is so much going on, but they're choosing to focus on this tiny, tiny minority. Yeah. And you have to ask yourself why. Yeah, when you know everything came out about Boris Johnson and his various scandals, which that itself is.
Various scandals is the most charitable expression of.
What Boris Johnson has done
Whether it's, you know who's paying for his wallpaper, whether it was a cheese board, or whether it constituted a party, or whether he misled Parliament whenever that happened, he did, yes.
Which we did, which he did officially. We can say that.
PMQ's would happen on a Wednesday on a Thursday. There would always be an article about trans people to just deflect away from what was revealed most recently with the Stockholm
Barge situation with Legionella.
The scandal around that and the government knowing that the water was contaminated. Yet, still going ahead with that anyway.
When that came out suddenly. Oh, the government is looking to cut down on gender neutral toilets and and you raise them? Yeah. Why all of a sudden were being shifted towards trans people again. And if it's not migrants, it's trans people. So if there's a problem surrounding their migrant policy, the obvious one is trans
people throw the all the.
And and that's it. Yeah, we're just a
We don't want to be, we just want to
get on with what we do
we're really boring people. We you know, we...
We go to work, we come home from work, we play.
With the dog.
Are you saying we partake in the capitalist system?
We all do. We all do. We all do. It's classic dead Catting, though, isn't it? Like it is. It is just like, well, look over here. And it's it's the same dead cat that they somehow manage.
Get a lot of mileage out of. Yeah, every time. Every time. Yeah, yeah.
Yeah, people fall for it. The same cat in the same position. It was like, oh, wow, dead cat.
Yeah, I just wanna get angry about something. And it just like it has to be the same dead cat. I do wonder. Like just in my head, it's like government gets together in little rooms like "do do do do do:. And they're like, which one do we choose today? And.
That's how I imagine the government.
I'm. I'm imagining it like evil Malcolm Tucker. Like, that's that's how I imagine the government being exact like.
Wheel of fortune like Wheel of misfortune.
To tell you.
And every everything is trans people. Yeah, it's like, oh, it's it's the green trans people today. Yeah.
Trans people with a different colour.
I don't want to say it's harrowing, but it is. It is harrowing. I just don't. I just don't like to say it's harrowing cause that makes me sad, and that is part.
Of the problem, but I think.
That is the problem if people, if as a community we don't acknowledge it, society, we don't acknowledge it, we bury our heads in the sand, it will become even more of a
And you know, I always think of the film Don't Look Up. That speaks volumes about how society's attitudes can lead, will be our own downfall, because we we just refuse to acknowledge what, you know, the elephant in the room. And yes, as a community, we are battered
we are so tired, we're mentally exhausted, but we're also resilient. We've been around for hundreds of years in various cultures. We are still here no matter what has been thrown at us.
So we can get through this and I'm certain we can, but we just need to get through this little hump. I say little. It's not little, but in the grand scheme of things it's fairly trivial. We need to be able to move through this. Not saying that, you know, trans rights, trans lives are trivial, but when we look at the bigger picture, things that affect
all of us. It's it's a trivial matter to focus on. So the more we can band together, acknowledge the problem, that's when we can move forward, because you can't really have allies, and you can't really move.
Forward if half the people don't understand what the problem is, don't understand where the problem is coming from. Don't really understand. You know how it how it's going to affect.
Them because trans rights are just the, you know, the tip of the iceberg. If they can do this to us, they can do the similar things to migrants.
are they capable of? We are the Guinea pigs for society, and transphobia has a huge knock on effect and people just don't realise. But you know, there are stories
of people being abused being assaulted because they're, you know, people mistaken for being trans. And over in the US, there was an athletic, I think it was a university or college athletics and one athlete was accused of being trans
She was winning and she was doing so well and she didn't look feminine enough.
And because of that, she was called. She was trans, therefore unfair, so-called biological advantage. Yeah, let's strip her of her titles and all the parents complained to the the College Board School Board just because she didn't feminine enough. We start policing what it is to be a woman.
Your your shape. How you present everything, it's really scary.
Yeah, and. And she wasn't trans?
And she was just a great athlete. Yeah, that's it.
And that's the point. Isn't that what, like the lift, the heavy lifting thing? Like big, big muscle person, all that kind of stuff. It's just like it is just small. Is biological advantage, and like gender doesn't come into it so much. I don't know.
As not very sporty, but like the sport is just about who, whose body can do that thing best. Yeah, like that is fundamentally what sport is, with rules but like.
But when we look at male sport, like for example Michael.
Helps. He's revered because he he dominates his sport. He does so well. He does have many biological advantages and he's celebrated for that. Yeah, but when women have some sort of biological advantage, what's going on? You know, you're trying to infiltrate women's sports.
Now all of this is basically just a challenge of power because we talk about power being most power and then and then within, I guess, like the social context is like who has the power? Oh, we need to get that power away from the. So we have more power and like, if so in sport that context, I guess in sport it's just like ohh, she's trying to challenge male power. So we need
to take that away.
It's just power. It's just, yeah.
Yeah. And then trans people are collateral damage in basically the seizing back of power because, like, it's, it's an attack on women, right? Broadly, isn't it? And then it is. Then they go well, we're going to also then focus on this group because it's the smallest and easiest group to take advantage of because they are even more oppressed.
Than the wider group.
Let's punch down on the obvious
The thing is like when we look
that the situation of trans women in sport, there's been a recent study long term study that confirmed there is no biological advantage. A lot of the gender critical people seem to underestimate the power of HRT. Yeah, like yes, my skeletal structure is slightly bigger because of testosterone at puberty.
I can't do anything about that, but being on oestrogen means there's loss of muscle mass, so I actually have less muscle mass to support a slightly larger
frame. So that's not a an advantage. That's a disadvantage. Yeah, our testosterone levels. Everything's carefully monitored on a very regular basis. The anti androgens that we take reduce your testosterone levels right down to way below that of a cisgender female's natural testosterone level.
But that doesn't get spoken about. You know, it's always testosterone. You've got this natural advantage. But look at the Williams Sisters in tennis. No one has ever thought. Why do you keep dominating? Look at your build. What are you on? Look at your genetic makeup. No. They are celebrated for.
And and trans women. If people have an issue with trans women, it's because they don't see them as women. They see them as men, and therefore the problem is men, not women.
Moving more positively and thinking about the future
That wasn't positive(?)
Well, moving even MORE
Positively think about the future. We were we were talking about allies earlier and I think that's
that's some important stuff to talk about about allyship.
I am what? What would you say? Like the perfect ally would be and the imperfect ally. And how do you become? How did you become the ally that
you want to see.
I'll start with saying the imperfect ally, the bystander, the one who sees something happen but chooses not to do anything about it, because that makes you complicit. That makes you just as guilty.
We have to kind of remember, you don't have to understand somebody fully in order to respect them. You know, you don't have to be on board with their choice. That's absolutely fine. You just need to be able to respect them as a human being. And you know, if you want if someones gender critical, that's fine, you know.
Gender critical thinking doesn't really affect me to the point where they can have these thoughts as long as they don't act upon them to the point that they are doing now and physically causing my life a
problem. You can think what you want. You know there are flat Earthers out there. Still they don't impact on the progression of society. We just kind of let them have their own little corner.
Yeah, and their Netflix documentary? Yeah.
That's well, yeah. But yeah, we need to acknowledge that.
There is a line and when that line is crossed, people lose their lives, people are hurt and that's just the beginning of it and
the the bad ally is the person who ignores that, who just thinks I'm fine. You know, I'm doing all right in my own little corner of the world. I'm just going to plot along. I support it, but as long as it doesn't affect me and the fact is all social injustices are interlinked.
and will affect you at some point. Yeah. So I want allies to really step up the pandemic. Was I like to call it a classroom period? You know, we're at home 24/7 with our computers. That was our only way of connecting and pronouns
were on the rise; or the idea of using pronouns. People came out of pandemic, adding pronouns to their bio to their e-mail signatures, which is great. We need to do a bit more than that. Now you know pronouns in the e-mail signature are not going to save lives. We need people to take a step beyond that
And do more. And the good ally is one that does the opposite of all that is happy to use their privilege, recognises that there is an injustice and that they have the power to say something, to challenge something, even if it's just going to HR at work and saying, you know what?
Gender neutral toilets. We will have them at home. Why don't we just do something here? Why don't we just stick a sanitary towel bin in every single toilet here? Even if it is gendered, you know, just recognising what you can do to open the door for trans people or other, you know, marginalised groups within your workplace. Little things like that be proactive.
Don't wait until someone prompts you, yeah.
Hmm. What is something like active that someone can
Do to become an ally and overcome their bystander-ness?
Visibility, I think, I mean like visibility is huge for us as a as a community because we are saying we're here. Yeah, you know, no matter what's going on, we are still here and it normalises our existence. We need allies to be visible as well to be not not just visible allies for us, but visible allies.
to other allies; be an ally for other allies. Show them that there's nothing to be afraid of. You can do it. It's really simple. You can do things in your own little way, but just do it. You know, I'm sure there's a certain sports brand that, that, that use that phrase as well, but literally.
Other sport brands are available. Thank you.
But yeah, that that's all it takes. And it's really simple. It doesn't cost anything at all. It's just think about what you have and put yourself in the position of others. Do they have that? If not, yeah. What can you do to to pass that on?
Yeah. And there's also, lots of different things that I think I think that's one really important thing for an ally is just to.
Have those questions and then actually go and actively go ask those questions and then go search for those answers and do it in the way that is good to do for you and how you learn because amount of time. So I always go on about this because I'm not a big reader. The amount of times like go read this
book and I'm like...
It's so many pages and it hurts my brain and they move around.
So what I do is I go look at things like videos online or like Ted talks or like you, your social media like those activists online to see what they're saying and then things like TikTok because that is also in my concentration span.
Yes, I am that person. I think it's really important because when you have that basis, you feel comfortable and then you can be that person who can show up and be visible.
Be that visible ally. I think Tik Tok's a great example.
Of allyship and activism that's accessible because it's little what 20-30 second videos and when we look at the attention span of people these days. You know, whenever I put out a reel and I look at the the analytics afterwards, you can see, you know, after 30 seconds, it just dwindles. People don't have the patience.
You're scrolling or doom scrolling on your feed. You just want that info there and then really, really quick and we've become a society where information is readily available. We want it quicker and quicker and quicker. You know, these days we don't even have to wait for a web page to load up, but we want it. We want it there. We're.
hungry and one criticism I would say of
of ourselves as a community.
We shouldn't have to do the educating. Yes, there is. Google, to all allies, I would say, you know, don't be afraid to to, to knock on Google's door and see what Google has to offer. But that said.
Anyone can put something out on Google? Yeah, it might not be right so that yes, whilst I agree that we shouldn't be...
You know, having to educate everyone to re-live our trauma in doing so until we are fully accepted, we've still gotta put in the work ourselves. We can't 100% rely on allies. And yes, it's daunting. And I understand that there are those who don't want to do that, and that's fine. But those who are within the trans community and are able to.
I implore, you know, just...
Please step up and don't be afraid to do some teaching. Yeah, because the the quick we can do that the better. Yeah. If we just simply say I'm not to Google, you can go and figure it out yourself. Yeah, you could be sending them to a gender critical page.
You could be sending them to the Daily Mail or whatever, whatever else. So the only way to make sure
the information is accurate is to just tell them ourselves. Yeah. And I know it's repetitive. I know it's tiring, but it's the quickest way we can get there.
And I think also it's really important that I think it's a very I think that in British society and I think there's lots of times that you said something and like that is a very British society thing as well is that we're really scared of getting things wrong. Yeah, like we build ourselves on such a a British pride thing of like we did this right, even like our history.
Look at everything we've taught in history, like our history classes, everything rule Britannia.
And so we are scared of getting things wrong. Even like learning a language. Always a bit like. I don't want to say things cause I want to offend someone. It's like, well, part of learning is to get things wrong. Otherwise you'll never learn. Like when you when you started walking, you fell down. That's getting, you know, that's
getting walking wrong.
Yeah. So you need to get things wrong, be scared of getting things wrong. But in the in the
end, you'll get it right.
And context is massive there.
Like if you are getting things wrong in like a learning and educational context then you'll you'll get lots of forgiveness from everyone because they're going like well, like you're learning about me and my society or my my group like thank you. I'm grateful. But like here's what you need to know.
For next time, yeah, if if.
Intention. That's that's so. Yeah. Especially when trans people have had a lifetime in our own little heads to come to terms with this thing called gender dysphoria and gender identity, we've been wrestling with it for a long, long time. Yes. You know, and I recognise that some people don't come out until later on in life. They
Don't realise that's absolutely
fine, but when they do, there's still that, that process. But allies and cisgender people don't have that. They don't have the luxury of a lifetime inside someone's head trying to figure it out. You're having to fast track your own
journey your own transition to adapt to allowing trans people into your lives, and that takes time. We can't force that, you know, think back to how many times at school when teacher says this is what you need to learn. Here's the formula and you go...
OK, but why? Yeah.
If it's thrown at you, it's really hard to digest. Yeah, and I think that's why social media is so powerful. Because like with Tik toks, it breaks it down into bite sized pieces. And it's easy, it's accessible. And that's really, really important in terms of educating and normalising who we.
Yeah. And it's also like
TikTok is more of a storytelling platform. I think ultimately human beings, we all share the the wants to share our stories and to hear other peoples. Yeah. And that's always what you see being most successful in breaking
Down bigotry or like breaking down someones misconceptions about something is like when you relate it to something that they understand that's in their life that's part of their story and going like well, that's all we do. We just we we tell stories, as a species and I think that's why TikTok and social media has been much more successful in in positively
proliferating society with more visibility across all oppressed people is that it's just 'cause people are actually sharing who they
are like, what's what's underneath the..?
And financial privilege as well and everyone can afford books. Yeah. You know, to some people, it's what, £10, £20, £30 fine. Hmm. Not everyone can afford that social media. It's there. It's free. You know, as long as you can gain access to to the Internet, you can't. I mean, and. And even then, some people can't. So...
The more we can educate people, we can break things down and make that information readily available and accessible. The more people we can reach and we don't exclude anyone. Yeah, sadly. You know, even as a as an LGBTQ+ community, we, we're not always as inclusive as we could be. You know, we talk about inclusivity, we want to be in.
We're not always very tolerant of others. And I think there needs to be a bit of reflection on our own part as well, because sometimes our own internalised homophobia and transphobia does get in the way and we do have our own unconscious bias. We're not perfect. We're talking earlier about, you know, Lizzo and how people who you revere.
People you would see as angelic or on a pedestal, they can do no wrong. Yeah, but no one's perfect. And as long as we're able to acknowledge our weaknesses and our intents and to learn and do better, that's the most important thing. Yeah.
I think that's a really good point to like to stop because yeah, I got everything and.
We are, we are.
Hitting the end of our time as well.
Is there anything you want to say that you think that you?
Wanted to say.
One message I'd give to all trans people is something I..
I've only come to realise in the last few years and that's your own kind of beautiful because.
What is going on in the world politically...
You are you. You're there's only one of you. And I remember when I was at school, I got bullied to hell. Like, just for being a a kid of colour and bad at sports. I still colour. I saw them, let alone gender identity and sexuality on top. But I really felt like I needed to fit in and I couldn't. And it wasn't until I came out that I realised.
All these times I wanted to fit in.
Why? Why do I want to be a carbon copy of somebody else and that held me back. Yeah. So since then, I've been saying to everyone but your own kind of beautiful. Just just be you. Yeah. And by embracing that you are unlocking a power from within a power that allows you to to be resilient to, to take chances.
To really put yourself 1st and focus on your own well-being as well because you deserve it. And yeah, yeah, I'd say to anyone watching or listening. That.
Be your own kind of beautiful and just go with it.
There's anything you wanna plug? Anything that's coming up for you at all. Going anywhere, seeing anything doing anything?
I'm I'm actually doing a Ted talk in November.
*GASPS* Sorry, I love those. I'm fangirling.
Congrats, that's awesome.
I've recently announced I've had to sit on it for like well, since the beginning of the year.
You must've, been bursting at the seams.
Like sitting on a drawing pin.
I really wanted to tell people.
Most importantly because it's TEDx women, it's a very specific TEDx women event. I've been approached to do TEDx events in the past, and I've never really felt comfortable. Because, you know, when you just know when a something's right for you. When I had this opportunity, I really.
So this this is the one because.
TED talks are fantastic, but we need a space for women's ideas. We need a space to be able to normalise what it is to be a woman, to be able to network, to be able to share. Yeah. And for this to be part of a specific TEDx women event. It's for me. It's almost like a dream can come true, so it'll happen in Teesside.
Later this year, tickets are available, but yeah, for me that's what I'm really, really looking forward to.
I'm so excited.
For you, are you gonna buy the whole front row?
Yes. Yeah, just just be me, yeah.
And just pictures of Yanni, just.
Look at me like that.
Thank you so much. Thank you. Yeah, me too. Thank.
Yeah. Thank you.
Thank you for having me, I really enjoyed it.
You thank you and 1st podcast done tip.