John Lennon famously sang ‘Imagine’ – given all the pain and suffering he saw around the world caused by man attacking fellow man, his clear and heartfelt plea was to ‘Imagine‘ a world full of peace and harmony – a world where we all lived together and no one cared about skin colour, religious beliefs or any other kind of difference that made up this wonderful, wide tapestry of human life – he truly dreamt and stood up proudly for of a world of love and equality.
But on that fatal evening in New York on 8th December 1980, John Lennon’s life was so cruelly taken from us, and the world had lost one of its greatest and most influential human rights campaigners.
But Imagine if John had lived. How happy would he have been on 1 October 2007 when the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) was established by the Equality Act 2006 to uphold its key components, which were further expanded in 2010. The UK now had an ‘independent’ organisation with responsibility for the promotion and enforcement of UK equality and non-discrimination laws, to promote and protect our human rights. We can only imagine how proud and comforted Lennon would have felt. No further need to spend his days campaigning in bed trying to spread his message of love for all and to ‘give peace a chance’, here was a UK organisation specifically set up to fly that flag and protect the rights and lives of all minorities within the UK. Imagine that.
But when Lennon dreamt of a world where everyone could live as one in peace, how would he have felt if despite this, the UK had fallen down a path of hate and discrimination.
Being Jewish, I can only imagine how this would look if anti-Semitism had once again taken hold in the UK. Imagine what today would look like if we truly lived in a dystopian society.
Imagine if every major newspaper and media outlet today was publishing anti-Semitic stories with intentionally targeted agendas set out to demonise the Jewish community and turn the UK’s public perception and feeling against them, and not dissimilar to what was happening in early 1930’s Nazi Germany. There are currently 271k Jewish people living in the UK and the fear felt by the Jewish community would understandably be horrendous.
Imagine if this hatred was being fuelled and used for political gain by a far-right Tory Government, even though the opposition Labour party under Keir Starmer had made a strong and firm stance against anti-Semitism, so at least one party would be standing up for the world Lennon had imagined.
But now let’s imagine further if we lived in a truly dark, fantasy world. Imagine the plot of a Tom Cruise Hollywood film where conspiracy theories run wild, and those in power whose role it was to protect human rights were in fact the ones targeting a minority – what if the very organisations set up to protect human rights were not only complicit, but playing an active role alongside that far right Government in a plot to remove the Jewish community from all aspects of public life?
Imagine if the UK’s EHRC were to take this position.
Imagine if their actions reached such levels, that within a matter of months multiple high level employees had quit the EHRC, turning whistle-blowers, stating their reason as the clear discrimination from within the EHRC Chair and Board. You can just picture Tom Cruise risking life and limb, scaling buildings to help protect those fleeing from the evil corporations and fighting for human justice!
But that’s just imagining a Hollywood plot. Surely this couldn’t happen in reality. We don’t live in the fantasy world of a JK Rowling, we live in the real world. And anyway, if this ever happened, and our EHRC was truly exposed for being complicit and even active in destroying the rights and lives of a minority, whether that be Jewish or gay people or people of colour, there would be a national outcry. It would be the lead story on the News at 10 and front page headlines of every major newspaper exposing the truth and seeking the immediate removal of the EHRC Chair and Board!
But here is the reality. It is happening, and not one mainstream newspaper or media outlet is reporting it.
The only difference is that it’s not anti-Semitism, homophobia or racism; it’s transphobia and the blatant targeting of the 263k trans people living in the UK.
Just two weeks ago this was revealed by Vice News with their article exposing the true position of the UK’s EHRC – Exclusive: Senior Officials Quit Britain’s Equalities Watchdog EHRC Over Transphobia – VICE World News revealed that seven senior officials have quit the EHRC because of their concerns over internal transphobia.
Their truly disturbing report revealed the following:
“Senior officials including a board member have recently quit Britain’s equalities and human rights watchdog due to the “transphobic direction” of the organisation, workers have told VICE World News. Insiders at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) described the seven exits as “massive resignations,” who said some took place as recently as this week, and that they’re “expecting many more over the next few months”. Asked if they thought the EHRC was being taken in a “transphobic direction” one current staff member, who is staying in their position, responded, “Yes, I definitely think so. I think that’s quite clear.” They added: “I think the EHRC is having a really, really damaging impact right now. It’s sending a strong message to trans people that your rights don’t matter. “It all feels politically motivated, and I think that’s clear from the tone of some of the things that the EHRC is now saying publicly.” “These are big senior people who have committed their lives and careers to protecting human rights and promoting diversity – they don’t want to be attached to this mess,” Another current staff member agreed, but warned “the resignations are giving gender-critical bosses what they want, because lots of the job roles aren’t being replaced,” asked what that means for the future, they said, “it means that the EHRC is becoming more and more transphobic, without anyone willing to fight back”.
And this is the reality in the UK today, but unlike in my example of what anti-Semitism might look like, in this scenario, not even Labour, too concerned about any impact on voters, are willing to publicly fight back and stand up for trans lives. So trans people are being left totally unsupported and unprotected.
The total lack of interest in bringing this to public attention is shown by this snapshot of a ‘EHRC’ google search the day after VICE published their expose, highlighting that Vice and Pink News were the only publications to feature this story:
It is almost beyond comprehension that a story exposing our Equality & Human Rights Commission, whose express duty is to stand up and protect trans rights, is itself guilty of actively assisting in the Government’s destruction of trans rights…. and yet NOT ONE leading UK media outlet has run this story! Imagine? It’s almost too extreme to believe this could happen in the UK. We all nod knowingly when we hear talk of a ‘State controlled and complicit media‘ in Russia or North Korea – but in the UK!
Arguably, John Lennon was one of the most ‘woke’ artists to ever come from the UK. And when you just stop to think about that, doesn’t it expose how ridiculous it is to paint being ‘woke’ as somehow a bad thing. It is simply staggering to think how Lennon would be portrayed in today’s political climate with a Government and all main media outlets pushing their hateful ‘anti-woke’ agenda. Are we really to believe that John Lennon’s views on peace and love for fellow man were totally misguided and misplaced? Are we to believe that the hateful rhetoric of this Government portraying asylum seekers as ‘invaders’ and portraying trans women as sexual predators and a genuine ‘threat’ to cis women is preferable to the vision of ‘love, peace and respect for all’ of John Lennon? Really?
“Imagine all the people, Sharing all the world
You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one, I hope someday you’ll join us, And the world will live as one“
John Lennon was a dreamer. And he was clearly ‘woke’ because he dreamt of love and acceptance for all humanity, a position that is so far removed from our Government, our EHRC and our media. As far as the UK is concerned, and especially for the trans community today living in real fear, his dream of a world living as one is currently further away than ever before.
Trans lives are not dreams, they are a reality, and if the truth is not told and the public fail to understand, the cost over the coming months and years could be truly frightening, and this is something we really don’t want to imagine and see come true.
For our Equality & Human Rights Commission to actively seek the implementation of laws that would effectively remove a minority from lawfully existing in the UK is simply staggering and simply has to be exposed as such. The obvious question that we keep asking is “Why?”.
And it gets even worse (if that were even possible). Meeting minutes for both the Welsh and Scottish EHRC Committees have this week revealed that both Committees came to the same, very clear and damning conclusion, that the formal EHRC response to Kemi Badenoch’s letter should NOT recommend changing the definition of Sex in the Equality Act to ‘Biological’ Sex. They both made it very clear that such action would have severe and highly damaging impact on trans people and remove the rights and protections that the Equality Act 2010 had intended to provide. There was clear reference to no evidence having been provided to justify or merit such a change and a clear call for further discussion and better stakeholder consultation. Which is strange, because as an organisation that has been in close direct communication with the EHRC over the last few months, no effort was made to raise any of these questions with us.
It is now abundantly clear that the EHRC was fully aware of the consequences to trans peoples and Falkner’s response was to totally ignore the information and conclusions from her own committees, and without seeking any clarification for any trans stakeholder organisations, Falkner proceeded to issue her letter. So this was not written in ignorance, as we now know all the facts and implications were fully known.
So we have to ask, why is none of this being reported and making the front page headlines?
There is no question that had this been racism, homophobia or, as per this article example, anti-Semitism, all leading UK news broadcasters would be reporting this in total horror. When the Police are exposed as being institutionally guilty of such atrocities it’s rightly front page news, right across the UK. So why is transphobia on this scale simply ignored?
It’s a question we’ve been asking more and more ….. Why?