Emma Watson For the Win
Earlier this morning Emma Watson shared the photo to the left to her millions of followers. The shirt reads “Trans Rights are Human Rights” and we are here for it.
Emma Watson is taking the transgender equality debate and fight on her shoulders and showing solidarity with trans people across the globe.
Watson sharing this photo comes after a rise in anti-trans sentiments seen within Pride and the greater society across England, and as we know a major focus of right wing politics here in the United States. This summer many transgender people were alarmed to find TERFs (trans exclusionary feminists) setting up a protest in front of and leading the London Pride parade. These cisgender women were shouting derogatory remarks such as “dykes not dicks” and claiming that transgender lesbians are “raping” women. This is not new, in the early 1970s this faux science and philosophy began by claiming that transgender women were men using male privilege to invade their spaces. They argued that trans women were simply trying to control the feminist movement as males and that they did not understand the women’s movement or even what it meant to be female.
By and large this has not been the perspective of the majority of feminists, and Emma Watson’s post is a declaration against it. It is a statement that feminism is for all women, and that it embraces equal rights for all. As we live in a world that is becoming both more progressive, and more vitriolic showing solidarity with the marginalized and signal boosting their struggle is needed. Today Emma Watson reminded the world that the fight for trans equality is a fight for human equality. What Watson is doing through the posting is reminding us that there can not be a casual diffidence to the rights of transgender people across the globe. Much of the transgender discrimination that does exist comes because of the complicity of silence, and ignorance. This casual deferral to engage is almost more damning that the outright discrimination. When someone acts in a discriminatory manner it can be shared, it can be verified, it can be combated against. When someone simply doesn’t care they give a silent approval to the voices of aggression. What has always pushed the transgender equality movement forward is the tension of speaking up, and acting against injustice.
Watson’s shirt is a reminder to her many followers, especially those in the “move-able” middle, that is a cause worth fighting for. Watson has always been an avid feminist, and activist. We remember that she took a year off from acting to focus on different aspects of equality movements and to use her time and resources for those causes. This post should not be a surprise, but it is worth celebrating. It reminds us there are many people on our side, and each day more people will choose to share that support in a public manner that will implore society move forward. Watson’s post doesn’t just draw attention to herself. As much as we are celebrating her voice, we are also excited to see she chose to tag and amplify the organizations that are also fighting for transgender equality. Organizations such as Stonewall, Mermaids, Gender Intelligence, and, All About Trans. These organizations use volunteers, and funding to fight for an inclusive and diverse society. Organizations such as Stonewall have been founded in riots that have shouted out and declared we want better, and saw better come. Mermaids is an organization devoted to teaching families about the gender spectrum, and giving families the tools to support their children. Gender Intelligence creates workshops that build inclusive environments by combating stereotypes and false narratives with education. And, lastly, All About Trans works with the media. They re-frame how transgender people are talked about, and give the education needed to cover trans and non-binary news with clarity and truth. Watson gave all of these great organizations a platform, she has pushed them in front of others who have never heard of them today with a simple t-shirt and tweet.
At the end of the day this is a win, it is not novel, it is not too hard to do. But it shows that one person each day is stepping up. It shows that each day one more person may be introduced to organizations they have not heard of, and that each day one more person may engage with this debate anew. Yes it’s a tweet, but it is the simple act that reminds us all we have to do is speak because someone is always listening.