Another LGBT+ awards controversy: Pink News and Baroness Stowell

There does seem to be something about the LGb(t) community and awards, doesn’t there?

Pink News have played a blinder by giving their “parliamentarian of the year” award to Baroness Stowell. Yes, that’s the same Baroness Stowell that will cause hardened trans veterans of the same-sex marriage bill to wince when they hear her name, for it was her who gallantly defended the spousal veto as the bill passed through the House of Lords, shooting down every suggestion and compromise proposed on this and other trans-related topics.

It perhaps should not be too surprising that many people, both trans folk and allies, are somewhat miffed this morning at the news. At the time of writing, the only defence Pink News have put up is that it was an “independent panel of judges, although there would have been nothing to stop them shortlisting her in the first place…

(The award was shared with Yvette Cooper, although it is not clear what in particular Yvette Cooper was singled out for an award when there were many people on all sides of the house who engaged far more above and beyond)

The trouble with these awards is that it is often a small panel, with perhaps one trans person on. Unless you’re very careful picking that person then they’re unlikely to have the breath of knowledge to avoid obvious (To us) SNAFUs such as this one. In this case, a non-politician from the trans community was asked to vote on the award and didn’t have the background knowledge (And would not have been expected to!) to brief others accordingly.

The fix is to ensure proper representation of trans folk within ostensibly LGBT+ organisations, for when the nominations are initially put together and on panels. Given how much more politically active out trans folk are compared to the wider out community, it is not sufficient to have just one trans person on a panel of ten. (Around one third of the elected LGBT+LibDems executive is non-cis – I don’t know the figures for other parties) Even if you base a panel on population numbers, remember the huge numbers of not-out, non-transitioning or pre-transition trans folk – up to 1% of the UK population, with a wide enough definition.

7 comments

  1. I think it’s rather perhaps a lack of protocol, which if addressed with some thought would mean the onus isn’t on, say, the one trans person to be responsible for a complete knowledge of all nominees and their position on trans issues.

    A quick search of “”Baroness Stowell” trans” shows a full page of results with unequivocal controversy, which should be more than enough to flag a potential nominee as in need of a closer assessment or removal. It’s not especially difficult for one person with no knowledge of a list of nominees and basic internet skills to find out in a couple of minutes if their names should be put forward at all.

    In fact a small list of keywords, covering standard anti-discrimination issues in combination with nominees names as part of the initial selection process would avoid these situations altogether.

    The other possibility is that Pink News and other organisations fond of “… of the Year” sycophancy actually don’t give a shit about trans people, or anyone not ‘respectable’ enough for the “we’re just like you” game.

  2. Sorry trans is now all about transitioning is it?

    so were back to there are trans/sexual/gender people and there is drag and there is cross-dressers/transvestites and none of them shall meet

    with cross-dressers/transvestites defining transexuals as “going all the way” and “living full time”
    with drag seeing cross-dressers/transvestites as really gay/bisexual and transexuals as what ever their birth certificate says
    and as above trans/sexual/gendered excluding transvestites and drag often up to the point when they can regain their cis privileges and then they deny all connection at all

    So were back to where we were in 1993 when 20 years ago a bunch of us decided to recognize are similarities not our differences, decided build a big house and what did we call this – Transgender, and after much campaigning we got pride to go from L&G to LGBT and then numerous other organization in their wake

    but even then I remember coming to pride and seeing people with T-shirts with transgendered on them and arguing that transgendered were different from drag and transvestites – why because trans now had more privilege than gender dysphoria or transexual and thus must be exclusively for their group! Because they weren’t like them over there who are just like me but slightly different – AND THE DIFFERENCES MATTER

    And why did we care about recognizing are similarities not our differences because the only people who cared about the differences were us – when people came to beat on us or kill us they didn’t distinguish between if you were a straight acting gay man or a straight transsexual woman – we were all scum that ‘deserved to die’

    but here we are again battling the constant crave for privilege and discrimination, about me and mine not us, NOT raising all boats together, building a union or party or any of the other mechanism that we use in society generally to gain power. The I want privilege and power and be able to discriminate against you rather than we together are powerful…

    it would be nice if you as a politician applied the recognition that makes up political parties – that a union of diverse people but working to a shared goal is more powerful than individuals by themselves AND THEN applied it to all OUR communities

  3. ” Even if you base a panel on population numbers, remember the huge numbers of not-out, non-transitioning or pre-transition trans folk – up to 1% of the UK population, with a wide enough definition.”

    everything is described in terms of transitioning i.e. that all trans people are about transitioning and where they are in relation to it – a very transsexual view of who is trans and who is not – since it privileges transition!
    It is NOT about challenging gender assumptions, making choices etc living with and without gender, about recognizing their are many ways that recognize that gender and sex are human constructions our interpretations and categorization of nature, that they are no more laws than intelligent design is

    1. Yes, that’s exactly my point. People base population estimates on a very narrow view, typically surgery-tracked or GRC which is why I like the 1% figure that the EHRC came up with. It makes the wider trans population about 20% of the LGBT community as a whole. (Assuming high-end estimate of the size of the LGB community at 5.2%, IQ+ excluded, as I don’t have statistics to hand)

      The EHCR number isn’t perfect, largely due to a lack of followup work on their part including refining the question(s), but in terms of published statistics it’s the best number we currently have to work with.

  4. Ok then change your language to recognize that talking in terms of: where we are in relation to transition, is privileging certain groups

    talk about our recognizing our similarities across the plains of gender and sex but also celebrating our diversity since every person is different

Leave a Reply