Galop, London’s LGBT Community Safety Charity, is deeply upset to hear about the death of the person pushed under a train at Kings Cross station on Monday 25th October 2010. Our thoughts go out to their friends and family.
We are also disturbed by the way the press has reported what happened. We stand by the right of all people to self-define, and to receive the dignity and respect they deserve.
The press have described the victim as a ‘transvestite’, a ‘man in women’s clothes’ a ‘man’ and as a ‘trans woman’. But the truth is, we don’t know how that person identified; the victim is unable to tell us, and people who knew the victim have yet to be traced.
Describing the victim in these terms is potentially inaccurate. The person could have identified in many ways; as a woman, a person with a transsexual history, gender variant or gender queer amongst many other possible identities. To emphasise this aspect of the case detracts from a tragic loss of life, because it moves the focus away from the act of violence onto the possibility that the person was gender variant in some way.
At its heart, transphobia is about intolerance of gender variance. Often the perpetrator neither knows nor cares how a person identifies, just that they are different in some way. By marking out the victim as ‘different’, and then sensationalising this by statements such as “killed tube man was transvestite” such reports contribute to the climate of transphobia which legitimates acts of violence against all gender variant people.
Galop works to ensure that all cases involving trans people are investigated and dealt with in an appropriate and respectful manner.
This incident is particularly poignant in the light of the vigil against hate crime in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 22nd October 2010, and with Trans day of Remembrance on 20th November 2010. Galop actively stands by the right of all people to be respected as the people they know themselves to be, and to live free from transphobia and hate crime.
If you have any information about this incident, or want help or advice about transphobia, call our helpline in confidence on 02077042040.