Trans activist Paris Lees opens up about lack of protection for LGBT+ youths in public spaces during poignant Twitter thread

In response to online comments around trans people and public toilets, Paris Lees illustrated the double standards within this 'debate' on Twitter.

Paris Lees Twitter

CW: Sexual harassment

British journalist and trans activist Paris Lees spoke out on taking necessary action towards protecting LGBT+ youths in public spaces amid growing anti-trans comments across Twitter.

On July 6, Lees addressed online comments targeting trans people in regards to accessing public toilets. She called out the hypocrisy in these statements by speaking about how people are overlooking prominent issues facing LGBT+ youths within public spaces. 

The well-known columnist reshared a interview between herself and James O’Brien, where she opened up about being a survivor of abuse. On Twitter, she wrote, “Where was the public outrage? Why aren’t people upset at something we know is happening to vulnerable LGBT kids?” 

Lees further stated, “It’s almost as if people don’t really care about how safe public loos are unless it’s to discriminate against trans people. […] But the people who are driving this debate when have they ever spoken up for kids like me?”

In a 2018 UK National LGBT+ Survey, 67% of trans and non-binary respondents said they feel unsafe disclosing their gender identity in public premises and outdoor areas for fear of negative reactions. Lees shared, “Why aren’t we having a public debate about how to keep kids safe in toilets? I’m not the 1st person to talk about this. We all know it’s happening. Are we saying it’s OK? For children to walk into toilets and be abused? We’re going to ignore that to focus on hypothetical threats?”

Following the initial Twitter thread, Lees posted, “As someone who’s been treated appallingly (sexually harassed) by both men and women in public loos I find the idea that trans people pose some sort of threat really upsetting.”

Amid a surge in transphobic comments online, Paris Lees has been sharing information around trans healthcare and engaging in open dialogue on Twitter. She also invited JK Rowling to lunch as a way of meeting trans youths and learning from their experiences

Paris Lees further shared her hopes moving forward by affirming, “We can build a society that’s fairer and kinder, calmly and sensibly.”

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