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We Deserve to Feel Safe Too


In this Pride Month, I’m delighted that ANHH is publishing blogs produced by someone with lived (living) experience of LGBTQ+ issues. I’m even more delighted that that someone is my son, Artie Ray.

The words in the blog are his – unabashed and unedited. Artie Ray has taught me much, particularly in the last couple of years, and I continue to listen and learn. As a human being it’s hard to read some of what he writes, but as a father, it’s a continuing epiphany.

But how do I react as ANHH’s Managing Director? We’re a management consultancy, focused on “doing good” and partnering clients across sectors. How can this thought piece support better governance?

There’s a use of language (always so important and revelatory) in here that signals an unnecessary confrontation and struggle – “denied my validity”, “attack”, and “hostility”.

There are concepts that will challenge – “pregnant transgender man”.

Above all, there should be reflections on how well your organisation is addressing all 9 protected characteristics. What language are you using? What training do you have in place? What facilities do you provide? What amendments have you made to practice or policy? What more can you do?

As ever, ANHH is here to partner you as you continue your improvement journey. You know where to find us.


Andrew


Before we begin, I feel it’s only polite to introduce myself to you. Hi, I’m Artie Ray Hughes and I’m a queer transgender man, who uses he/him pronouns. I was kindly asked by my Dad to write on LGBTQ+ experience in light of Pride Month. What I share with you in these blogposts is similar to the conversations my Dad and I have had during long car journeys together. His love has helped me build the foundation of safety I needed to live my truth.


I am deeply proud of who I am, but living authentically as a queer transgender man comes at a cost. LGBTQ+ people, particularly trans and non-binary people are under attack in the UK right now.


The Equality Act (2010) is Britain’s legal framework that aims to protect the rights of individuals from inequality and discrimination. This includes trans people, protected by two characteristics: sex and gender reassignment. Despite facing daily hostility for simply existing as a transgender man, I have always been comforted by the fact that I am protected under law.


My heart sank when I found out that the UK Government may amend the definition of sex, to “make it clear that sex means biological sex rather than gender”. Currently, the act describes legal sex as what is recorded on someone’s birth certificate. Trans people can change their legal sex via a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). However, the potential amendment to the definition of sex will make the GRC redundant because the Equality Act will only acknowledge a transgender person’s biological sex.


Under this new amendment, trans women would be treated as men and trans men would be seen as women. As a trans man, I constantly feel I must prove that I am a man every single day. Sometimes when I have shared that I am a trans man, people have denied my validity as a man. It is truly horrendous; I feel small and insignificant in those moments.


If this amendment is passed, the lives of trans people will be negatively impacted both mentally and physically. There are often complications for transgender people receiving healthcare due to a lack of understanding about our existence. In a recent Glamour magazine feature for Pride Month, Logan Brown shares his experience of being a pregnant transgender man. He says: “I am a transgender pregnant man and I do exist, so no matter what anybody says, I literally am living proof”. Men can give birth too because a transgender man is not defined by his biological sex.


Logan’s visibility and desire to educate cisgender (people who identify with the sex they were assigned at birth) people on trans existence is hugely inspiring to me. I hope this and the next three blogposts are educational and provide a safe space for readers who are in the LGBTQ+ community.


Whilst Pride Month is about celebrating the progress we have made in acceptance of transgender people, it is imperative that we collectively continue to tear down transphobia during and outside of June. We deserve to live loudly and proudly as who we are, knowing we are protected in all areas of our lives. We deserve to feel safe too.



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