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Not so long ago any talk about trans people and the police would have been confined to tales about discrimination on both side of the thin blue line. There were problems for trans people wanting to pursue policing as a career. There were also sometimes problems when trans members of the public had dealings with officers.

Nowadays there is still a big educational challenge to tackle, and mistakes do still happen. Recently, however, a new group has been set up by trans police officers themselves, with senior officer backing. The “National Trans Police Association” spans all 53 Police forces in the UK and their aim is to help bring about informed change from the inside.

PC Bernie Clifton, a Diversity officer for the Greater Manchester force, talks about the setting up of the new association and work to be done on both sides of the equation to achieve more inclusive policing in this area.

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  • Glen Shipley

    Frankly, many of us are sick to death of the lunatic political correctness and obsession with the rights of so-called minorities, whether ethnic or sexual. We are also bored rigid with the constant bombardment upon our consciousness of PC buzzwords like “diversity”, “equality”, “inclusiveness” and all that garbage.

    Why don’t some of you folks simply accept that you are as you are, stop whingeing and whining and wallowing in your perceived victimhood and just get on with your lives? Leave the rest of us - and we are the vast majority, I might remind you - alone to get on with ours and stop banging on and on about how unfair the world is! The world IS unfair, always has been and always will be, so get used to it. It’s called human nature, my dears!

    So far as the police are concerned, are we not entitled to ask whether someone with “gender identity” issues, and therefore probably with psychological problems, really ought to be in such a high-pressure and important job at all? This is a profession that demands not only a high level of physical fitness but also the ability to think quickly, sometimes in a split second, and to make decisions that just might affect life and death. Is someone who is confused about their sexuality really the right kind of person to make such decisions? I suggest not.

    You will not, of course, publish this comment since the one thing you people seem not to recognise is the principle of free speech, which means you will probably never permit anything to be published expressing an opinion which is at variance with yours.

    Aug 18, 2009 at 12:49 pm
  • Christine Burns

    Sorry to disappoint you Glen but of course your comment is published. Why should you assume otherwise?

    As for political correctness, do you not think it is appropriate to act correctly in politics?

    I have to assume you are part of that 20% of the population who are male, white, British, able-bodied, straight, Christian and under 45 - who harbour the conceit that they are ‘normal’ and that the world revolves around them.

    The reality is that, in Britain these days, about 10% of the population have a black or ethnic background, 20% have a disability, about 8% are LGBT, and large numbers aren’t Christian. By 2020, over 42% of the population will be over 50 too.

    What all those people have in common is the experience of being treated negatively at some time by people with the complacency to think they are in some way more superior or naturally deserving by accident of their birth.

    But we ALL pay for public services Glen, and although you may think of it as “political correctness” the rest of us believe that everyone is entitled to the same quality of care.

    Lastly, transgender people do not have psychological problems, as you assert. That’s official. In fact, the absence of mental health problems is one of the requirements for treatment. However, some trans people do suffer from depression or anxiety as a result of ignorant behaviour directed towards them by others.

    Kindest regards Christine Burns Producer, Just Plain Sense

    Aug 18, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Actually, I am not a Christian or believer in any religion. It’s all a load of medieval mumbo jumbo and superstitious twaddle, as far as I’m concerned. I’m a fully paid-up atheist and card-carrying humanist who believes in Darwinism and the evolution of species. I also believe in elitism and that those who are good at something should be given their head. I believe there are only two types of people in this world - WINNERS and LOSERS! Achievers who go out and get what they want and the whingers and whiners who seek to blame their shortcomings on others or on society generally.

    I know people from ethnic minorities, disabled and from sink council estates who have done pretty well for themselves. Why? Because they were self-motivated, strong-willed, had skills, guts and determination and went out and got what they wanted. I have little time for failures who always want to blame others for their own failings.

    I see no reason whatsoever for strident pressure groups like the Trans Police Association, or even the Black Police Association, to exist. I don’t believe in quotas or positive discrimination, any more than I believe in the negative variety. People should stand up for themselves, be strong and take responsibility for their own lives, rather than expecting others to do it all for them. What on earth is wrong with that as a lifestyle?

    Oh, and by, the way, I have a bus pass! My generation believes in self sufficiency and not being dependant on others.

    Best wishes.

    Aug 18, 2009 at 2:11 pm
  • Christine Burns

    Well I’m with you on the religious belief front Glen .. although I prefer to keep an open mind and have promised that I’ll make my mind up on the way to Heaven.

    If you’re a card carrying Humanist, however, then it’s worth saying that I know Hanne Stinson quite well, and I know that she and her British Humanist Association are entirely supportive of the kinds of diversity issues which we showcase here on Just Plain Sense.

    You speak a lot about Whingers and Whiners and yet I suspect that you’ve not actually listened to the programmes here in any depth. If you had then you’d know that that isn’t the approach of any of the people I’ve featured in the 62 episodes that I’ve produced so far.

    On the contrary, the guests here are all very positive people, engaged in ensuring that they do not become losers in this world. I’ve never heard any of them ask for special dispensation. If they did I would challenge them on that. Instead, they are seeking the same treatment or rights as everyone else, on the basis (with public services) that they’ve paid the same as the next person.

    You dub the NTPA as “strident” but I’d urge you to listen to what they have to say. I hear no stridency in the educated and measured way in which they explain what they have set up, and why it is important for effective policing that represents the WHOLE community.

    Lastly, congratulations on your bus pass. I too can’t wait to get mine in a couple more years — and I hope that the concession isn’t taken away through over use by people who take whatever’s on offer whether they need it or not. If you were under 65 when you got your pass, however, then it’s worth remembering that men only finally achieved the right to have bus passes from 60 (like women) because one man used the machinery of human rights and equality law that people talk about here. You see, it’s not just for “other people”. Human Rights are there for everyone. I just hope you’re never in the position where you learn at first hand just how essential they are. The privileges don’t go on forever in this dog-eat-dog world.

    Aug 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm