This week the BBC withdrew from the Stonewall Equality index – it’s not the first organisation to do so recently. Stonewall has taken a very proactive stance on trans rights which has unsettled some organisations few on trans equality.
However, Stonewall represents all LGBT+ people and their rights to live without fear or prejudice – just as most non-LGBT+ people live their daily lives as a matter of course. Equality, that’s all it’s about.
The trans debate has been raging for a few years now – gender critical feminist pitched against trans activist. The losers? In short everyone. Stonewall has been part of that conversation, and the equality index doing exactly what is says – how good is your organisation at support and delivering equality to you LGBT+ staff and customers. The aim here simply being equality for all. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans or however people define themselves under that umbrella.
The challenge is the very nuanced debate about gender and sex. They aren’t the same. They also aren’t binary. And gender is also fluid. All those statements before are true.
I’m also not writing to say who is right and who is right – it’s simply about equality. The debate being on and around women’s rights vs trans women’s. In most cases they are the same, but those nuanced edges around single sex spaces (note the word sex, not gender). Where should convicted offenders who identify as trans being imprisoned? Should rape victims be housed together? Like I said it’s very nuanced and the debate is angry, and missed the point that in all cases everyone is vulnerable.
The BBC challenge to stay impartial by dropping the Stonewall Equality index follows a very recent article it published about lesbians saying they felt pressured into sex by trans women. This article received praise by gender critical feminist, and of course disgust by trans community and allies. My personal opinion on the article was that it was ridiculous and click-bait. Two women getting it together – at any point one of them can stay “no thanks”. In reality it was an article to attract non-LGBT+ people to be voyeuristic, but such an unhelpful article.
The point is the Stonewall Equality index is not about the trans debate – it’s about equality. The BBC’s membership and ranking in this index does not make it impartial – but it just signals that LGBT+ rights are not important, that equality and rights of LGBT+ people in the organisation, it’s viewers and consumers who are LGBT+ and their family and friends are not to be treated the same.
F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
It is clear that the BBC does not have first-rate intelligence – it’s inability to promote equality for it’s staff and lead the way on LGBT+ rights, while being unable to produce impartial reporting seems ridiculous.
The direction of travel is backwards, something that is not only sad but frightening for not just LGBT+ rights but all diversities and their inclusion in the work-place.