I was very impressed to see signs like this, not least because earlier this year the politics of bathroom use were very much on my mind. I was proud to be involved with the Katrina Harte campaign, especially on the night when, waiting for the bus after another day at work, I got a Facebook message from one of the organisers confirming that the pub which had refused her access to the proper toilets were going to give in and let her use the ladies', after our campaign of letter-writing, contacting MPs, setting up a Facebook group, and generally causing a ruckus.
Ensuring that trans women are able to use the toilets which accord with their gender-identity is not some right-on, theoretical thing. It can, literally, be a matter of life and death. Make a trans woman use the male toilets and you're exposing her to potential abuse and violence from cis male toilet users who - let's be honest - are not the most enlightened and pacific people at the best of times, never mind when they've got three pints of cooking lager inside them. Having a trans-only toilet would be just as bad: you're essentially outing someone in public who might otherwise have 'passed', again exposing them to potential violence from users of your premises.
I can understand this and I'm assuming, dear reader, that you do too. So it boils my piss to find that the people responsible for implementing the Equality Act 2010 either can't grasp this point or don't give a fuck, as Helen from Bird of Paradox points out.
I feared that the Coalition government would roll back some of the great progressive pieces of legislation introduced under Labour, including the Gender Recognition Act 2004. It never occurred to me that they'd do it using a piece of legislation crafted by the very 'progressive' administration they'd replaced.
Right now, I honestly feel as if they ran a game on us. We spent so much time during the election focusing on issues like the Tories being in bed with people like Philippa Stroud, and Christopher Grayling's opinions on the bed-and-breakfast trade, and feeling that if we could just get the Tories to commit to honouring Labour's equalities programme, we'd have held their fucking feet to the fire. But all the time, at the heart of the very policy we were trying to have honoured, the bomb was ticking away. The transphobes, the radfems, the family values mob, the sort of scum who write that trans people should be 'morally mandated out of existence' were going to get their special little wish...in a piece of legislation which purports to be about equality.
Now, in the name of equality, it will be legal for businesses to exclude trans people from the right facilities. It will be legal to bar them from employment on the grounds that their presence might offend cis people. The 'equality' act will force trans women out of the public sphere, even more than they already are. The 'equality' act will force them out of legitimate work, into the murky demi-monde of the sex trade, where they can work alone, from their own homes, where they won't have to go out and face a world that can now, legally, exclude them without facing any sanction.
And where they can be picked off and murdered by scum.
An 'equality' act which disenfranchises a whole group of people, legitimises prejudice against them, and increases the likelihood of their being prey to harassment, intimidation and violence, isn't worthy of the name. Please, if you're reading this and truly believe in real equality, do everything you can to ensure that these provisions of the act are repealed as soon as possible.