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LGBT+ History Month 2023 - A Blog by Paul Court

PSA LGBT Lead, Paul Court, publishes a blog to mark LGBT+ History Month 2023:

Let’s try answering the questions that matter…

Take a second to think how it would feel if you were trans? It is difficult to imagine right?

Well it is difficult unless you are the 1% of the population who experience some degree of gender incongruence (the condition in which the gender identity of a person does not align with the sex assigned at birth).

Let me do some quick maths - in the UK Police Service, I reckon about 2,000 of our friends and colleagues experience this condition. In an average size police force, that’s roughly 40 officers and staff. A surprising number? I certainly think so. When you hear the continual toxic debate around the rights and existence of Trans people which happens on a daily basis, do you consider the impact on those people?

It was only last week I was asked by my friend what I thought about whether trans women should be allowed to compete in women’s sporting events. My response was a little longer than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (she knew that would be the case which I think is why she asked me!) My reply went something along the lines of:

“Let me share with you what I think we should be debating: There was a 56% increase in trans related hate crime between 2021-2022, a larger increase than any other protected characteristic. Globally, there were 327 Trans people murdered in 2022. 95% of them were trans women. Around 80% of trans people have considered suicide, whilst around 48% have attempted it. Now, once we have debated how to save Trans lives and worked out how they can live a happy and fulfilling life, I’ve probably got more time to think about sport. Until then, I think there are far more important questions we need to talk about.” 
So where am I going with this? Well right now, there are people sat next to you in your police car, working alongside you in your custody suite or answering the 999 calls across the desk from you, who need you as a police leader, to stand with them, beside them and up for them. Because they are being attacked in some way on an almost daily basis. And I am sad to say (and angry to have to say) that some of those attacks come from within our own service. And let me be very clear, those attacks are shameful. When we choose to lead, we don’t do so on the basis we get to choose who we lead. When we wear our uniform, we don’t do so on the basis we get to choose who we serve. We all uttered the words “according equal respect to all people”. We lead and serve all. 
So during LGBT history month my plea to you is a simple one – please take just five minutes this month to read something to broaden your knowledge and understanding on the things that matter to Trans people. And then take just another five minutes to share what you have learnt with colleagues. Why? Because as you read this there are thousands of colleagues looking for you to learn, to listen and to be their voice. As a Service, let us make our history today and feel proud to have stood shoulder to shoulder with our Trans colleagues when they needed us. And as police officers who have a duty to lead and serve all, let us focus our time answering the real questions that matter - how do we keep safe those most at risk? 
And finally, regardless of how you identify, please know that the Police Superintendents’ Association is here to listen, support and stand with you, during LGBT history month and every month. 
Until next time, Paul. 
“As this blog is published we learnt this week of the murder of 16-year-old, Brianna Ghey in Cheshire. My thoughts are with her loved ones and all those affected by this tragic killing. May she rest in peace.”