Queer pioneer, actor, politician and activist Michael Cashman has compared the trans “hatred” prevalent today to the homophobia he experienced in the 1980s.
Michael Cashman was motivated to become an activist after he made British television history 30 years ago. Cashman was an actor in Eastenders and portrayed Colin Russel.
There was a media frenzy when Colin and his partner kissed, which was the first kiss between two men on mainstream British TV.
He said that the trans community are facing the same “defamation and misrepresentation” experienced by the gay community in the 1980s.
Michael Cashman said that the fact that some of this hatred towards the trans community is coming from within the LGB+ community is “unforgivable.” Speaking in conversation with Welsh Labour representative, Jeremy Miles, Cashman said:
“The fact that they face it from some lesbians and gay men and bisexuals, and even from some other trans people, makes it unforgivable.
“If you allow it to happen to others, then your own history will repeat itself.”
The former actor and activist said he is calling out transphobia because he comes from a background where “if you saw an injustice and it affected you, it connected with you, you couldn’t do or say nothing”.
Cashman, who is now a life peer in Britain’s House of Lords, also reflected on the legacy of Thatcher’s Section 28. He and Ian McKellen co-founded Stonewall alongside other LGBT+ entertainers as a response to the sanctions faced by the LGBT+ community as a result of the horrific law.
“Section 28 happened when I was in EastEnders … And I knew that if I didn’t go on that march against Section 28 and I didn’t speak out against Section 28, that I would never be able to look myself in the mirror again. And going on that march led me to where I am now,” he said.
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