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SIÂN AMEKUEDI (SHE/HER)

"My name is Siân and I am a very proud trans woman of colour! I've been out as trans now for a few years, although it took me a very long time to feel comfortable enough to get to this point.

Quite possibly, I talk a bit too much about feminist theory and listen to a bit too much 140. Also, over the past couple of years, I've also been involved with some activist-y stuff, although getting involved with more explicitly trans stuff has been a much more recent thing."

"Unfortunately, when trans people are invisible, it means that the only representation that we have comes in the form of crude and ugly stereotypes. These stereotypes only serve to stigmatise trans identities. At least personally I can attest that the repeated exposure to these stereotypes and ugly depictions is quite frankly trauma inducing especially to young, closeted trans people.

Visibility is the first part in the process of undoing transphobia, be that internalised or otherwise. Positive visibility means that we are not seen as scary trans people, or ‘TRA’s’ but actual people

I remember many years ago seeing Paris Lees on Question Time. It was the first time I’d ever seen a trans person on TV who was not the butt of a transphobic ‘joke’ and who was not ashamed, but proud to be trans. For me, that was the first part in undoing the many years of internalised transphobia that I had long since harboured. That’s what visibility means to me."

"Seemingly every day, be it Sky News, the BBC, the Guardian or other news outlets, we seem to be seeing transphobic rhetoric published without opposition...

For the most part, in the UK, transphobic rhetoric has very much taken the form of a brand pseudo-feminism that seems entirely focused on trans issues, while comparatively indifferent to the many structural injustices that women in the UK and abroad are facing.

One particularly well-known transphobic pseudo feminist for example praised MP David Davies for standing up for lesbians all despite him having a consistent voting record that says anything but.

Worse still, certain groups and individuals have been attempting to disguise transphobia as free speech. This completely disregards how free speech is very much dependent upon everyone maintaining their political dignity and their moral status – something that’s immediately forfeited when the rights and identities of those from a marginalized group are directly attacked."

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"Unaddressed waiting times have put us on road towards the backdoor privatisation of a crucial service. Obviously, this is going to hurt the trans people most who have been the biggest victims of Tory austerity.

What does it say when so many of us are having to rely on a GoFundMe, or turn to sex work just to be able to meet basic healthcare needs? In 2020 Trans people are having to stand here in having to say that Healthcare should be a right not a privilege."

"In the four years I have spent at Bristol University, I have repeatedly seen transphobia be presented as an appropriate and legitimate point of view. The worst of this came in 2018 when a student group at UoB hosted a known transphobe at the exact same time as Bristol SU’s vigil for Trans Day of Remembrance. How in any way is this ok?

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In the face of this, several of us decided to protest the event and the next day we were met with a barrage of online abuse. Abuse which I was disproportionately subjected to. Of course, this was not just limited to transphobia either, I had several people hint and one person say outright that I looked like a golliwog.

This was all because we protested the fact that a transphobe was literally scheduled to spout transphobic rhetoric while at the same time on other side of the university, the names of the trans people who had been brutally murdered that year were supposed to be remembered.

I recall thinking to myself at the time that that sent a far stronger message to trans students than a performative rainbow flag ever could."

"We need to continue fighting back. Please, If you are cisgender, especially if you are a cis woman, we really need you to not stay silent. Please, share links and articles, talk to people, sign petitions, attend protests. If you see transphobia, transphobic rhetoric or misinformation – please, call it out. If you can, write to your MP and tell them that this is not good enough.

We need to challenge the various structural injustices that are causing trans people so much hurt and anguish. Just please, don’t be silent."

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