This Saturday I will once again join the trans community as we celebrate Trans Pride which is five years old this year. I wish everyone who is taking part all the best. Back in 2012 the Green Party Councillors established the first Trans Equality Scrutiny Panel. As chair of the panel, we made 37 recommendations to improve the lives of trans people in our city. It became clear from our scrutiny that trans people were subject to vicious harassment and institutional discrimination. We identified that not enough has been done to help our trans residents play their full part in society.
The work was groundbreaking - shining a light on the issues that trans people face, from bullying in schools to hate crimes, housing to health and employment. Five years on and that work has led to some significant change- the first health action plan to include the trans community; a toolkit for our city’s teachers to educate pupils about transphobia, working with Sussex police to improve hate crime reporting. The report set out how all councils could change outcomes for trans people for the better.
In our city, during 2015/16 there were 33 recorded hate crimes against the trans community, an increase of 50 per cent compared to 2014/15. That is 33 too many. In 2009 it was one of these crimes that took Andrea Waddell - a local trans woman - from us. This is about the need for all residents to live a life safe from fear and prejudice.
Saturday is a powerful reminder that we will continue the march for equality for the trans community but it’s clear there’s still a lot of work to do. You can’t reverse the prejudice, ignorance and oppression suffered by trans people in the space of five years. But I very much believe we are now on the right path and most importantly, must support the individuals from the trans community brave enough to stand up and fight for a better future.
I hope that Brighton and Hove can continue to lead the way and will become a beacon of good practice for the nation, and indeed the world.
Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty is the Convener of the Green Group on Brighton and Hove City Council