Essex County Council in Britain has been accused of transphobia after releasing a questionnaire with an image of a trans person taking off a wig.
The photo appeared on a question regarding the participant’s gender on the council’s Future Library Services Strategy Questionnaire.
The questionnaire offered three options – male, female, and transgender. The man and the woman featured people with their thumbs up, while the transgender option was a cartoon of someone taking their wig off.
It also only offered the option of ‘transgender’, when many trans people identify as male or female. There was no option for non-binary or intersex.
— Liz (@Liz_Miles) January 29, 2019
Former Liberal Democrat representative and trans advocate Zoe O’Connell was among those who highlighted the photo on social media.
She wrote: ‘Wow. This is bad. Really bad. Before we even get to the images, the text in question is just wrong. Transgender is not a gender on its own – many trans people identify as either male or female.
‘Now on to the images. Really, someone removing a wig? Sends really bad “trans people are inauthentic” messages. Like something straight out of the 80s. If the council thinks this is appropriate, how are their staff going to deal with trans people accessing services.’
For people with learning difficulties
The chairperson for Essex Pride Garry Ormes also condemned the photo.
Essex County Council have issued a statement in response to the story. They claim the image was included to assist people with learning difficulties.
They said: ‘We are aware of a twitter post that raises concerns about an image on our easy read version of the Libraries Consultation document.
‘Firstly we would like to reassure those concerned that the image was specifically chosen to help communicate with people with learning disabilities.
‘It was supplied by an organisation called Inspired Services, who work with people with learning disabilities to produce Valuing People Clipart, which used by the government and NHS England for easy read publications.
‘However, we are sorry for any offense the image has caused and we will now consider whether this image is used in the future.’