As part of Stonewall’s 30th birthday celebrations, we’re sharing the stories of people affected by positive change to legislation.
What does LGBT equality mean to you?
As a transgender woman, equality means having the fairness of opportunity to live my life without fear of judgement or prejudice. It means feeling comfortable and safe in my surroundings, wherever I go and whoever I meet. It means being treated with the same respect and dignity I show to others in order to create a cohesive and harmonious society.
What made you want to share your story?
Being openly trans is particularly uncomfortable at the moment, given the onslaught of mainstream and social media intolerance challenging our very existence.
I have come to learn that sharing your lived experiences can break down barriers between people - it gives them access to knowledge and understanding.
While it requires a degree of courage to be visibly different, I hope that, by sharing my story, I can contribute positively towards the goal of acceptance and inclusion. I also hope that seeing my story will encourage others to offer their experiences in turn.
Tell us about your own personal star moment.
Firstly, the Equality Act 2010: it represented a step change in equality legislation generally and had a huge impact for the LGBT+ community.
The Public Sector Equality Duty that was introduced as part of the Equality Act holds public institutions (such as the UK Armed Forces, of which I have the privilege of being a member), to an unequivocally higher standard. It institutionalised equality and this is something society as a whole should be aspiring to.
I’m also grateful for the fact that, 20 years ago, I had a role model who showed me it was possible to serve in the military and be trans. This ultimately gave me the courage to emerge from the shadows and grow as an individual, finally free to express myself.
What are your hopes for the future?
I would wish for a more considerate world where we do as much as we can to look out for one another. I want to see us celebrate the unique characteristics that we each contribute to an inclusive and harmonious society in which we treat each other with respect and dignity.
What would you say to someone who wants to support LGBT equality?
Learn what it means to be, and perfect the art of being, a good ally! Listen and seek knowledge to understand what inequality looks like and avoid the temptation to centre your own feelings.