Mhairi Black has delivered a blistering critique of the proliferation of transphobia in the UK as a “manipulative and false narrative” employed by the far-right.
“Be of no doubt – we are currently living in a moral panic right now, and it’s being fanned by organised disinformation and online radicalisation,” she warned.
“And if we as legislators capitulate to it, then all we do is send an international message that disinformation works.”
Black began her speech by highlighting the troubling fact that LGBT+ people are more likely to self harm, more likely to feel suicidal, more likely to be the victim of a crime and less likely to feel safe enough to report it to the police.
“But if you are a trans person, you are even more likely to experience everything I’ve listed – and worse,” she said. “That’s because over the last five years there’s been an organised and concerted international campaign against the trans community, and the UK is no exception.”
Mhairi Black drew clear parallels between homophobia of the past and the transphobia of today, pointing to evidence of it being used as a recruitment tactic of the American far-right when rallying against homosexuals became no longer “effective”.
Among the groups identified as particularly susceptible to anti-trans views, Black said, were “women, sexual assault survivors, ethnic minorities who value modesty, economically-challenged children and children with anxiety disorders”.
“So as with all far-right recruitment tactics, a minority has been targeted, and hatred and distrust are stoked against them by preying on people’s fears,” she said.
“In this instance, by projecting a manipulative and false narrative that there is a conflict between trans rights and women’s rights.”
These tactics were openly discussed in fundamentalist circles from 2017 onwards, around the same time a “swathe” of anti-trans Twitter accounts sought to establish themselves in the UK.
Mhairi Black says LGBT+ people are scared to contact their own MPs
Black condemned the self-prescribed organisations and blogs projecting ideas that are “factually and scientifically incorrect,” as well as the “media in this country that continually platforms and projects these hateful disproportionate views uncritically”.
As a result of this mainstreamed transphobia, Black said she’s been contacted by LGBT+ people from across the UK who are too frightened to get in touch with their own MPs.
“These are constituents of Tory MPs, Labour MPs, and I’m ashamed to say, SNP MPs. And I have ran out of excuses to give them.”
Mhairi Black delivered her final remarks to trans and queer people directly. “This is an ugly and shameful time for all of us, but that shame is not yours to feel, or yours to carry,” she told them.
“In the same way that we teach young people about gay history now, and they’re horrified when they hear of our past treatment, so too will future children when they find out how trans people were treated today.
“This will pass, and in the meantime know that there are allies everywhere that are with you and are fighting for you publicly and behind the scenes. And like our community is so often having to tell people, we are going absolutely nowhere.”