The trans movement is moving forward at an accelerated rate, but there are massive challenges remaining.
Army captain Hannah Winterbourne, Helen Belcher of Trans Media Watch Romario Wanliss, a Jamaican activist and vlogger shared their insights at the current state of trans rights at Digital Pride. Filmmaker Jake Graf chaired the debate..
During the panel, Winterbourne made the proud announcement that she believed the British Army will only get more inclusive as more trans people go through the ranks.
‘In five to 10 years time we’ll have a transgender person at the top ranks of the British Army,’ she said. ‘The army is seen as a masculine, male-dominated environment. But the army is judged by its capability. I can’t say that there were no challenges, but it was an education job. I was able to show that I could do my job. In fact, I did my job even better when I did come out. At that point, everybody – pretty much everybody – was on board with it.’
As a transgender representative, she says there are more and more trans people joining the ranks. She says she mentors at least one trans person in the army every couple of weeks.
‘It’s not like any other company where you can head-hunt for diversity,’ she added. ‘The only way people are going to get to the top is if they go through the ranks.’
Belcher addressed HB2 in North Carolina, and the other stepbacks for the transgender community in the US.
‘It is a last gasp of evangelical fervor,’ she said, describing the politicians having a ‘very flawed understanding of what trans is’.
‘But once people start to realise this is going to have an effect on their kids, their friends, people will be disgusted by it,’ she said.
Wanliss opened up about being a black trans man, and how Jamaica is not quite the homophobic hell people believe it to be.
‘When me and my friend went back after a decade, we walked in Kingston and we were fine. We dealt with security guards, police [while filming a documentary], and we didn’t have many issues. You saw trans people working, living their life.
He added: ‘That’s how you defeat homophobia and transphobia, is when you understand trans people are normal people.’
Watch the video of Trans: The Next 10 Years below: