Definition of transphobia
Transphobia is the fear or dislike of someone based on the fact that they are or are perceived of as trans or trans allies. It can take place through words or actions, expressing itself as harassment or hatred or in discriminatory practices and behaviours.
Transphobic behaviour will amount to harassment where the complainant reasonably perceives it as creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.
The NEU’s use of the word trans
We go further than the Equality Act 2010 and define trans to mean people whose gender is inconsistent with the sex they were registered at birth. Trans people need not have had any medical transition to be considered trans. They may describe themselves using a variety of terms including non-binary and gender non-conforming.
The NEU’s commitment to protecting trans rights
We accept and acknowledge that trans identities are real and valid. We recognize and condemn the harm that transphobic behaviour causes.
The impact of transphobia
The effects of transphobic behaviour are broad and far-reaching. Transphobia can prevent people from living full and open lives, comfortably as themselves and free from harm. It creates barriers in society and in the workplace.
Examples of transphobic behaviour
- The intentional or repeated mis-gendering of trans people (whether or not that person is present);
- Abusing trans people whether through mockery, innuendo, insults, jokes or demeaning comments or malicious gossip about trans identity and practices;
- Intrusive questioning;
- Seeking to remove trans people from discussions about issues which directly affect them;
- Ostracising trans people on grounds of their trans status;
- Forcing or pressurizing trans people to participate in discussions of trans identity against their wishes;
- Spreading the idea that being trans is a contagion or a plague;
Failing to listen respectfully to trans voices including those of trans children about their choices and identity.
[These examples will be explored in more detail in our forthcoming Guidance]
Holding and expressing gender critical views
Nothing in this definition is intended to contravene the protections given to all protected groups under the Equality Act 2010. The NEU rejects all discrimination and recognizes that holding and expressing gender critical views is protected by law under the Equality Act and the European Convention on Human Rights, Articles 9 and 10. This means holders of these views can express them freely, as long as they do so in a respectful manner, avoiding creating an environment which is hostile or discriminatory to trans people.
The Code of Conduct
Discrimination on grounds of gender identity is already prohibited under the NEU Code of Professional Conduct. Members are reminded of this extract from Code:
“Members will conduct themselves professionally and ethically, with respect for others, maintaining an environment in which the Union’s objectives can be pursued productively and creatively. Discrimination and discriminatory behaviour will not be tolerated, including discrimination on ground of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sex, gender identity, disability, social class, family status, pregnancy and maternity.”