Skip to main content


A little story.

In 2014, the UK charity, Stonewall, had a new CEO: Ruth Hunt.

Ruth wanted to make Stonewall trans inclusive. Up until that point it hadn’t been. Part of that effort was to recruit an advisory group from the UK trans community.

I was on that group. I ended up as its vice chair.

We spent the next year and a bit creating a document called “A Vision For Change”, which detailed what we thought the areas that trans equality campaigning should focus on in Britain.

Then the Brexit referendum happened and Cameron ragequit. Theresa May came in and it was apparent there was very little government apetite for the stuff we wanted.

But May, who was there when the same Sex marriage bill went through under the earlier coalition government had had something of a damascene conversion to LGBT rights issues. Stranger things have happened (but not many!)

So she wanted something from our list that was quick, easy, and uncontroversial. Obviously we were disappointed, but she was presented with bringing Britain’s antiquated Gender Recognition Act up to date, and in line with other European countries, as something simple. We honestly thought it was. It’s an administrative change of very little significant consequence, and actually no significance at all outside the trans community.

And it would have been simple, had an eclectic collection of unpleasant, obsessive arseholes with privileged access to the UK press not decided to start a culture war over trans people at that exact moment.

A culture war which, at least in England, they basically won. In part, this war was why I emigrated to Portugal.

Here we are, seven years later, and the result of Scotland finally wanting to implement a watered down version of the “easy win” we presented to Theresa May is apparently that the current prime minister, Rishi Sunak, is willing to end the Union between England and Scotland over it.

So that’s my story. I am part of a small, elite cabal of LGBT people who wrote a document that is poised to destroy the last vestiges of the British Empire.

Go me! If there are any other governments you want destabilising, my bank details are available on request. I provide reasonable rates.
Bem jogado, Sarah. Vai, você!

Mrs. Bison and I have seriously considered moving to Portugal in the past — but if you can work your magic on the Republican Party, we will happily remain in the U.S. except to buy you a frango and a Sagres.

Content warning: British political bullshit

Content warning: British political bullshit

Content warning: British political bullshit

Content warning: British political bullshit

Wow, this is a fascinating piece of the puzzle on how we got here..!
thank you for trying to make the world a better place. I am starting to dispare at the state of my island
now that's something to make you CV pop.
Thank you for your service.🖖
David bloody Cameron, right? What a tool.
I think if it boils down to this, you'll never have to buy your own drinks ever again.
@andreasdotorg Not in Scotland, anyway. 😊

Or in most of the rest of the Commonwealth formerly known as British.
@gorfram @andreasdotorg and we really do make some very tasty drinks up here
Lagavulin 16 if you’re offering 😉
if you remind me when we're independent, I will personally travel to the distillery and get you a special edition
@gorfram @andreasdotorg Windsor Colonialism Recovery Support Group
I think we can give "feminist" transphobes some credit too. They seem determined to destroy everything in the service of opposing trans people sorting their paperwork.
As a Scotsman I thank you for your service ;) hehe

But quite frankly it should have been sign, sealed and delivered years ago and not used as a political pawn.

Scotland has taken a step in the right direction but not gone far enough.

I honestly don't understand (other than sheer bigotry) why England would choose to deny/block it.

stupidity, hatred, classism, racism and bigotry reign supreme in Westminster 🙁
Thanks for all your important work and engagement.
I fully support Scotland becoming independent, but fail to understand how this could lead to the break up or at least the referendum which is being denied right now? Is there a quick and simple explanation you could provide?
@MissScott01 it's the first time the UK parliament has overruled the Scottish parliament on devolved matters, so it is certainly a constitutional crisis
@moh_kohn @MissScott01 it's completely insane that in 2023 there's Scottish, Welsh, NI parliaments - but not a dedicated English one.

Federalism could and should have been underway decades ago.
@escapadesrpg An English parliament would force them to confront the fact that Britain is not England. The Empire mentality would not let them countenance such an outrage.
@technohippy yup, and I'm 100% for an EP. I'm English BTW.
@escapadesrpg The Tories get few MPs in Scotland and Wales. If I was English, my worry would be that an English parliament would be permanently Tory.
If it were elected by any form of PR it wouldn't, plus they're overdue for a split anyway

I've been opposed for ages because it would inevitably break the UK up but I think that's now a lost cause, getting one sooner rather than later would end Westminster, if Scotland leaves we're stuck with FPTP but if we get an EP quick we can ditch Westminster claptrap as well
@matgb @technohippy @escapadesrpg Yeah, I think the argument that "this is how we get PR" is one that has convinced me.
@Sarah Brown So bizarre for an organization to be named Stonewall and not have been trans inclusive.
@clacke
They recognised that and took steps to try and resolve, any organisation that can't reflect and adapt is surely doomed.

Just look at the MET police, they have serious issues but refuse to face and tackle those issues robustly and head on, Even with change of leadership the rot was set in.
Apparently the reason for the name is, back in the 80s, when they were former, they wanted a hand people could put on cheques for donations without outing themselves. The Stonewall riot was not well known in the UK then.
It was named after the riot.

Which was not well known in the UK at the time.

Which is why they named it that.
i would definitely put that on my CV if i were you
Those were the days! :heart_transgender:
Top work!!!
"destroying empires, one union at a time." :flan_XD:
Well written, and well done!
That is the thing about working on policy and legislation to make the world better, it is often tedious and can seem futile but you can set big things in motion if you hang in and do good work with purpose
Thanks for showing the history. History and context are important to know these days.

And thank you for your effort.
Arseholes indeed.
At the moment, to get a GRC you have to show evidence of having been transitioned for 2 years (so updated passport, driving licence, gas bills, etc), and submit a load of medical reports. The only thing a GRC really affects is marital status, so it's absurd that it's harder to update it than it is to update, e.g., a passport.

They wanted to bring the requirements for getting as GRC more in line with the ones for getting a passport.

It's a really boring administrative change that has almost no effect on anybody, but a bunch of weirdoes LOST THEIR FUCKING MINDS over it.
single greatest post I’ve ever read on mastodon.
@tugboatmcpuppy thank you. Sadly, it going viral actually broke my poor little friendica server.
Another way of looking at it is that you could end up being one of the founders of a modern, independent Scotland. Not bad for a bit of committee surfing.
Lovely introdiction, lovely development, lovely end. Count me in your team.
I love the idea that the British empire will be destroyed by a conspiracy of queer folks 😄
@jeanniebrady There is a link in this thread, bit higher up.
Well done you 😀. Hopefully Scotland will cast off the shackles of the UK failed state and we can reinstate a better version of the GRR bill in consultation with the trans community.
So.. Just... "Kingdom" then ?
Thank you for your efforts; pity that those in power decided to push the culture wars narrative instead of doing anything constructive. We're on the same journey, trying to decide whether it's going to be safe for my daughters to stay in the UK or whether we should move elsewhere; I think things will get better, but can understand why any trans person would want to leave.
Congrats on being the catalyst for the demise of the United Kingdom!
I just arrived in Edinburgh. One of the first things I saw was a “Trans rights now” badge on the tram. I’m a straight cos male. For the life of me I can’t see why anyone would object to someone identifying as another gender. And as an Englishman it boils my piss that the Westminster Government has chosen this issue to take on Holyrood
I was totally flabbergasted by this news and even more so now that I read your short-short history behind it.

(mind that I think Scotland's better of in that other Union anyway)
thank you for your service to destabilizing colonial powers by giving people a tiny increase in personal agency and justice in their lives. ❤️
The Gender Recognition Act literally is amending marriage rules. That’s what it does.

It was introduced in 2004 to deal with the 1970s legal decision that annulled April Ashley’s marriage to a member of the British nobility and thus created a situation where trans people effectively couldn’t get married for 3 decades.

I honestly have no idea why you and a whole bunch of people go on about prisons. It’s not got shit to do with any of that.
@jeanniebrady Two things. It’s going to be some hours before you see my response to this from my friendica server, because it’s currently hammered and can’t keep up.

The second is that I have reported your post to the admins of your server. That sort of dog whistle transphobia might be tolerate on Twitter, but here it will get you repeatedly thrown off servers. You might want to adjust your attitude.
I have so many feelings about this.

One thing that shocked me about Liz Truss was her choice of Therese Coffey as DP. Coffey is an absolute disaster politically. Truss felt politically a disaster because of awful choices like Coffey. And I'm saying that from an electoral strategy POV, not so much from my own leftist POV. Truss felt like someone over her head but full of Dunning-Kruger. When she resigned, it felt like something had changed. It obviously hasn't.
Sunak is just a more polished Truss. This is, politically, a fight that has no positive outcome for Tories. The smart strategy would have been to bleat on for a few weeks in the press and then drop it.

It's below zero here in Kent. People are wondering how they'll pay their bills.

I think most people see this for what it is. It's proof they have no constructive policy, just a "culture war" cover for their lack of competent governance.
prouda u for doing ur part against imperialism c:
I wish it was that easy, but I doubt the entire Arabian Peninsula is a no-go area.

Maybe getting Germany to finally do overdue #SelfID legislation and force Poland and Hungary to undo reactionary and facist shit would be interesting...

So how's your rate?
Awesome story. Thanks for all your work on behalf of human rights.
can we do China next?
if it has to be in Europe, then Hungary.
you know, that might actually be a good outcome of a pretty sorry situation!
You've done the world a favor.

Can you repeat your magic in America?

It's been two years and zero coup leaders are in prison. At this point, the republic clearly doesn't deserve to survive.
@po8crg @jamesgraham @matgb I'd oppose an English Parliament primarily because I don't think England is a unified nation in the way that Scotland and Wales at least arguably are. I think of "England" as an identity imposed top-down from London/the Home Counties. I'd want regional Parliaments.
@po8crg @A_C_McGregor @andrewhickeywriter @jamesgraham @matgb

The fundamental problem with that is that Scotland is a real country, whereas England is already a defacto federation of regions.
Aotearoa New Zealand had a similar story. A simple change to NZ's Births Deaths Marriages and Relationships Registration Act (#BDMRR Act) was introduced to reduce administrative requirements for registering a change of gender on a birth certificate. Law change was proceeding quietly thru Parliament when anti-trans activists lobbied politicians against this "radical change". The Minister withdrew the Bill and set up a Committee to work on a the issue
https://www.dia.govt.nz/bdmreview---history-of-the-BDMRR-Act
Following the Committee's report a revised #BDMRR Bill was introduced and floodgates opened for submissions from LGBTQI+ supporters and anti-trans activists and a range of bystanders. Not as many submissions as on the related #ConversionTherapy #ConversionPractices Prohibition Bill that followed but lots of overlap of content and submitters.

Don't worry, both Bills passed in NZ but it was an anxious time for LGBTIQ+ community
https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/the-house/audio/2018807955/births-deaths-and-genders-a-quiet-bill-goes-loud
excellent post and I will read your memoirs greedily.
Thanks. Its unexpected popularity has caused quite a bit of trauma to my poor little friendica server though. It’s mostly died down now (occasionally getting a bunch of new shares which causes an hour or so of work, given it has to notify the 1300+ people who’ve already shared it), but initially it caused my server to run several hours behind for a couple of days.
Hey, power to you 😀
Hope its better in Portugal!
The culture war bastards ignore Portugal. Everyone ignores Portugal. Sometimes it's good to be ignored.