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University webpage details transphobic microaggressions
by Talia Pettitt, 5/04/21

A University of Edinburgh webpage has highlighted commonly used Trans and non-Binary microaggressions. 

The page described explicit expressions, spanning from slurs to intrusive questioning, that remain unrecognised by many. 

Microinsults and invalidations such as “I also wanted to be a boy when I was a child” were also shared by Vice-President Welfare, Niamh McCrossan, this month. 

These insults are often passing comments that are given little regard, but McCrossan noted “in different ways they negate or nullify the thoughts, feelings or lived reality of Trans and non-Binary people by questioning their experience, gender identity and the process of transition.” 

By giving room for students to share their experience with microaggressions, the page has attempted to make a safe space for Trans and non-Binary individuals. 

Intrusive comments and actions were brought up as key issues amongst many. 

One anonymous student said: 

“People feel entitled to ask questions that are really intimate that they’d never ask a cis person. 

“Because you’ve been honest about being trans, they then think that they’ve been invited into some sort of sexual or personal discussion.” 

Niamh also addressed discrimination within one’s environment, such as trans-exclusionary spaces, including within the university: 

“The environment can also be hostile to Trans and non-Binary people through visible Anti-Trans campaigns, such as stickers and posters, often in toilets, as well as on social media.” 

Many shared their concerns on Twitter about the page, with complaints regarding how commonly used the slurs are as well as the ‘invalidation of sex’ by trans identity – a common form of trans-exclusionary feminism. 

This comes after transphobic stickers were found in and around the University campus in early March. 

The stickers placed around George and Bristo Squares have presented transphobic comments such as “ScotGov you’re being rather silly if you think a woman has a willy” with hashtags such as #NoToSelfID and #SexNotGender. 

This hasn’t been the first-time transphobic stickers have been found on campus. 

Stickers reading “seahorses ARE horses. Hotdogs ARE dogs. There is no debate. #WarOnWomen” were seen in December. 

On Twitter there has been a ‘call to arms’ with reports of blades concealed under stickers, urging civilians to destroy them with keys. 

This received backlash by many who argued that Trans and non-Binary people disregard sex. 

Sarcastic comments such as “No! Not stickers” and “NOT STICKERS OMG DUCK AND COVER” were shared on the platform. 

Many of these have now been destroyed or covered with stickers by trans-activists, yet the regularity of these placements sees a deeper-rooted struggle with transphobia.

The university has already faced transphobic backlash this year when an article titled ‘What is Transphobia?’ was accused of “misrepresenting women’s concerns” in January. 

A spokeswoman for the group ForWomenScot described the article as “a low-grade attempt at a smear campaign” raising particular offence at the part of the article which said, “some people use the phrase ‘reasonable concerns’ as a way to limit the rights of and marginalise trans and non-binary people.” 

Transphobia and non-Binary based discrimination can be reported anonymously through the university and/or as a hate crime to police forces.  

Image: Common Dreams