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Trans war veteran who returned service medal to Boris Johnson on what happened next

"The situation for trans people in the UK feels so desperate that it feels like the only thing I can do right now," the Afghanistan vet tells Attitude

2021-04-14

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Twitter

A trans veteran who returned her service medal to Prime Minister Boris Johnson in protest of the government's treatment of trans people has told Attitude "I'm not holding my breath for a response."

She adds that the reaction to her decision has been "broadly good" but that it has created a "perfect storm" on the margins of the left and right.

"Those on one part of the left don’t like me for having been in the military, and the right doesn’t like me for giving up the medal and being trans," she explained.

The veteran, who served in Afghanistan for several years and wishes to remain anonymous, shared her decision via a friend's Twitter account on Sunday (13 April 2021).

She posted a picture of the medal and the letter, which states: "Since I transitioned in the last five years, I have felt increasingly disgusted by my treatment by your Government, your party and the NHS. I am no longer proud to have served a country that cares so little for people such as myself when we need help."

"Part of the left don’t like me for having been in the military"

The veteran told Attitude: "I only sent the letter and medal on Sunday. That said, I’m not holding my breath for a response. And if I get one I expect it will be the usual waffle you get from the government on LGBT issues."

Speaking about the wider reaction to the letter, the veteran said: "Broadly, the response has been good, which is nice to see! On the margins, it’s resulted in a perfect storm where those on one part of the left don’t like me for having been in the military, and the right doesn’t like me for giving up the medal and being trans. But you know, it is what it is."

She added: "Most people get what I’m doing, which is largely using the social capital of the medal itself to make a point. I’m especially trying to make a point for trans rights on the issues the Tories think are ‘theirs’, such as liberty, red tape, etc. I’m also aware what I’m doing is performative and will be ignored, but the situation for trans people in the UK feels so desperate that it feels like the only thing I can do right now.

On the recent disbanding of the government's LGBT Advisory Panel, the veteran said: "I think it’s a shame the LGBT Advisory Panel was disbanded, but let’s be clear, was it ever going to change things when it was in place? It’s all performative stuff from a government that flies Pride flags but doesn’t care about the material and/or legal gains for trans people.

"So yeah, it’s a shame but I’m not gutted. If anything at least they are being honest about where they stand on LGBT issues. I hope this and many other things act as a wake-up call for LGBT people, and we realise we need to stop arguing with idiots online and start mobilising behind direct action like was used during the campaign against Section 28."

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