Opinion: Recognise the unity we have as a community, regardless of our differences
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I was very disappointed to see a social media post from Mansfield MP Coun Ben Bradley poking fun at the trans community weeks after 16-year-old Brianna Ghey, a transgender girl, was killed in Warrington on February 11.
Coun Bradley shared a tweet featuring non-binary singer Sam Smith, with a Mansfield roadsign amended to read Themsfield in response to Sam saying “fisher-them”, instead of fisherman, on The One Show.
What was a lighthearted comment from a member of the trans community – about their identity – became a heated debate on social media.
In light of this, it shows how trans’ rights and the safety of LGBTQIA+ individuals continues to be under attack by dog-whistle politics and culture wars.
In the same way that striking workers are demonised. The same way that people on benefits or immigrants are blamed for the country’s problems, instead of the capitalist system at the root cause of these inequalities.
Mainstream parties are guilty of using Mansfield and communities for culture wars, instead of truly understanding the constituents they serve, the issues we face and the services we need.
Elected officials should be focused on tackling the social and economic issues affecting working class people, a number of whom are part of the trans community.
As always, one group of marginalised people does not cancel out the other, as we have intersectional groups within our community, all under represented and sadly in many cases, mocked and ignored.
Nobody is suggesting we change the name of Mansfield, but constituents in Mansfield are wanting access to fully-funded services, a pay rise that matches the rising rate of inflation, and a fairer system for all.
Many constituents, myself included, would like a representative who speaks for them regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ability, race, financial status or occupation.
I want elected officials to focus on alleviating poverty, funding services, and improving quality of life, instead of creating culture wars and politically point-scoring on the back of trending topics and people’s livelihoods.
This could be used as an important learning curve for all of us, to open up a discussion about language and recognise the unity we have as a community, regardless of our differences.