An open letter to University Debating Societies,
Trans people are now facing what can only be described as an epidemic of violence. Trans people face serious abuse and harassment in the media that continues to demonise, vilify and trivialise the lives of trans people in the name of 'a debate'. Trans people receive daily requests from media platform that want to set us up against people that don’t believe we are who we are, and don’t want us to have access to basic services, human rights and dignity. Trans people are seriously suffering due to this viceral rise in transphobia in society, and we are still facing heightened levels of verbal and physical harassment and violence. Those of us who are more marginalised are those that suffer the worst and have no voice in the media, or otherwise.
We get abused every single day by people that believe we are freaks, perverts, liars, sexual offenders, self-hating lesbians that mutilate our bodies, mentally ill, a threat to society and the source of all evil. There are few things more humiliating than being subjected to polarised debate in front of an audience where you have to prove a completely illogical statements wrong on the expense of your own well-being and sense of self. It's not a position anyone should be put in, and we urge you to re-think the values of your debating society and whether you think it is acceptable to subject trans people to such abuse. It does nothing to forward the conversation about trans lives and trans experiences, and it has a serious negative affect on our mental well-being and well-being in society in general.
While debating societies often serve a certain purpose in University culture and our culture in general, it is inherently wrong, invalidating and disrespectful to create a debate of this kind. Often at the end of such debates, the audience votes on which side of the argument wins. People would effectively be voting on whether or not they believe our core identity to be real or not. They would be voting on whether or not we deserve to be listened to and taken seriously. They would be voting on our existence. (Rest of letter in comment below)