Be mindful of how you express views about transgender people, support group warns
Great care should be taken in how views about transgender people are expressed, a support group has warned in the wake of a row over a blog on gender.
Margaret Nelson was asked by Suffolk Constabulary to “tone down” web posts on the subject, which she was told had caused offence.
However the force later apologised for the way it handled the issue, with Mrs Nelson saying it had not changed her stance on reforming the Gender Recognition Act, which would require no medical evidence for people to legally change identity.
The 74-year-old believes the change could be exploited to the detriment of women.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m just stating facts,” she said.
“It won’t stop me from doing so.”
However Jacquie Russell, service manager for Outhouse East, which offers support and information to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in nearby Essex, said police had a right to intervene if it was felt the posts were causing offence.
“I’m happy for people to have their views, but you need to be mindful of how you put it across,” she said.
“If it starts a campaign of people having negative views about that group of people, I don’t feel that’s appropriate.
“It’s about putting yourself in other people’s shoes and being mindful of how others would feel in that situation.
“They just need to be mindful that we are all one race and everyone should be treated appropriately.”
Mrs Nelson called suggestions of transphobia “nonsense”, adding: “A lot of people equate any such comment to homophobia. It’s entirely different and perfectly reasonable to scrutinise the implications of how adopting this law affects women.”
Suffolk police responded to the incident on Twitter, saying: “We accept we made a misjudgment in following up the complaint.
“As a result of this, we will be reviewing our procedures for dealing with such matters.
“We are sorry for any distress we may have caused in the way this issue was dealt with, and have been in contact with the woman who wrote the blog to apologise.”