Firstly, I feel I must introduce myself in the traditional way of our community: I am Tom “Badger” Hill and my pronouns are They/Them.
What I am here to talk about is how I was present when political, social justice and civil rights history was made…
On Saturday the 3rd of September 2016, the Green Party of England and Wales voted overwhelmingly in support of “Motion C4”, making it the only political party to have official policy which states very clearly that it is complete and undeniable fact that “Trans Men are Men, Trans Women are Women, Non-binary identities are valid”.
Why is this important? I asked Sahra Taylor (Postdoctoral Researcher, City University London) what she sees the impact of motion C4 to be.
“In any struggle for the human rights of disadvantaged groups, the first fight is for recognition that that group even exists. Until that point, societies, cultures and communities are free to act as they chose – to discriminate against them and erase their existence, in both subtle and overt ways.”
She went on to admit that the motion may not appear to expect much, but it does have a huge impact on the rights of non-binary people and the gender non-conforming as it “recognises that they exist, at the same time placing them on the same level as trans men and women – and thus on the same level as cis men and women”
On a political level, it is key to note that parties are always competing to take voters from each other and so will take policies from each other in order to achieve this. In this current climate of political uncertainty, to have what is often underestimated as “the protest vote of the left” make such a bold stand has the potential to force the entire left of British politics to take the same path.
When multiple parties agree on something it possesses a higher chance of becoming law. From a social justice perspective, it means that at long last, after centuries of ignorance, non-binary people have finally been acknowledged by the political system. The very system that is in place to defend the rights of the people, has finally recognised that they are both real and valid.
As non-binary Green Party member Lee-Anne Lawrance says, “it sends a powerful message. Affirmations like this are all the more important with recent cuts to trans-specialised services and the increased strain on the Gender Identity Clinics. As more people and organisations begin to make their voices heard on this issue the government will be pushed to take action.”
So what now? C4 has created a political precedent and I find myself in total agreement with Sahra when she says “Once recognition is achieved, the next step is to start to point out the way that what existed before has been contributing to the continual erasure of the group.”
As with all forms of success, the achievement shall only be maintained if we keep pushing it and ensuring that the fight is never over until what the Green Party has acknowledged becomes the complete and total norm. The most effective way is ensuring that the correct pronouns are used beyond relying on assumptions of gender.
Personally, I believe that thanks to the tireless campaigning of the people involved in the creation of this motion, voices shall begin to echo down the halls of history until they can no longer be ignored. The next step is to make sure that echo is very loud one. The next step is to keep the momentum.