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My teachers used to mock me. Not because they knew I was trans, but because I didn’t know I was trans. They called me a rebel without a cause.

I was always fighting, never knowing quite what I was fighting for. Maybe I wouldn’t have been a rebel without a cause, if they’d have told me about trans people back when I was in school.

From my first memory until my twenties, I spent every day thinking there was something wrong with me. I tried to kill myself at primary school age. My mom used to confiscate the girly items I’d collect, and shout, “why are you doing this!” She never even told my dad.

I thought I might be a drag queen but I was confused because I thought you had to fancy boys to be one.

Olive speaking on stage at TUC LGBT+ workers conference 2019

I would occasionally see things about “transsexuals” on television, mainly genital operations of course, and I’d wish that I was one of them. But I always presumed that a doctor would tell your family if you were, like they had with my asthma, and nobody had told me.

I just didn’t know I existed.

I think you have all heard a great deal of talk about how tolerance from cis het people would be improved if LGBT+ education was compulsory in schools, but I haven’t heard too much about the incredible effect it would have on LGBT+ kids.

It is the position of the Musicians’ Union that LGBT+ education must be made a legal requirement in all UK schools.

If it is allowed but only as a recommendation, schools will continue to be targets for those who were never required to learn the things about us that we were required to learn about them. And it would allow determined bigots to teach infactual content to future generations without any challenge from the public consciousness.

And further, allowing it just as a recommendation, is perhaps most dangerous because it causes our most vulnerable children to have to run through the gauntlet of hate just to get to school, as we have seen in my home city, Birmingham.

I don’t need to explain the effect this type of adult-to-child bullying, that we are seeing right now, will have on future LGBT+ children.

The systematic, colonialist erasure of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and other identities in our umbrella has already damaged us so vastly, and it has to be dismantled. Section 28 came into force a week before I was born. Stonewall research shows that:

  • 10% of BAME LGBT+ workers have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues, in the last year.
  • Trans hate crimes rose 81% in just this last year.
  • 35% of LGBT+ workers have hidden this aspect of their identity at work for fear of discrimination.

To finish - being trans is not my opinion. My specific trans neurology formed when I was in my mother’s womb. I am from nature. Being an LGBT+ identity is not our opinion, and it must be compulsory to tell children that we exist. Conference, I move.

Find out more about the MU’s Equalities Committee and the work they do to celebrate the diversity of the music industry and raise awareness of Equality issues.

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