SUPPORT has been given to a motion to fly transgender and non-binary pride flags on Barnsley Town Hall after councillors backed the plan.
At last Thursday’s full council meeting, the council debated Coun Will Fielding’s bid to support Barnsley’s trans and non-binary residents, including transgender employees who are transitioning.
The proposal comes after the Liberal Democrat-backed motion stated that trans people are ten times more likely to take their own lives.
Coun Fielding said trans people were amongst the most marginalised people in communities and serious challenges to mental and physical health are subsequently found.
He added: “The sad reality is that it can be dangerous for anybody to ‘out’ themselves, particularly if they have no support network.
“This is all amongst the fear and division stoked up by a government-led campaign of misinformation and half-truths, whipping up transphobia.
“As a result, the frequency of hate crimes against trans people has increased by 55 per cent.
“While the UK is becoming more liberal on almost every other issue, from same-sex marriage and divorce to single parents and abortions, trans issues are standing out singularly as attitudes have hardened against trans people.
“We want Barnsley Council to continue the excellent first steps they have made, but to also show outward support to what is currently one of the most marginalised group within the country.
“Not only will this be a sign of pride for Barnsley, making the town and borough a beacon within the UK, but it will also show support to employees of the council - through the identification of allies - fostering an even better and more supportive workplace.
“In addition, it’s also the support the council can offer around the issue of homelessness and physical health issues that inordinately impacts the LGBTQ+ community.
“As the town and the country becomes more inclusive and more open, people will not have to worry about their ‘transness’ being a factor in going to the gym, in going to the doctor, in seeking assistance around homelessness as a result of family rejection or abuse.
“A total of 77 per cent of trans people who become homeless indicating that rejection and abuse are the reason for their homelessness.
“While flying a flag may not initially seem like much, for trans and other marginalised communities, it means a lot that they have a visible ally in the council.”
Councillors agreed to display the transgender pride flag on the town hall on International Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20.
Coun Hannah Kitching, leader of Barnsley’s Lib Dem group, seconded the motion.
She said: “What we’ve actually seen in the last few years is increased attacks on specifically trans and non-binary people in the mainstream media.
“It’s become an accepted part of any sort of political and media discourse.
“For us as Liberal Democrats, who have always been at the forefront of campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights, that’s really, really sad.
“Trans and non-binary communities are telling us that they need more support and more protection than ever before.
“Because the council is so good on these kinds of matters, we really hope that the motion will be accepted in the spirit it’s intended.”