An independent LGBT bookstore has sent hundreds of books on trans history to lawmakers across the country – paid for by their own constituents.
Queer Lit, an award-winning gay bookstore in Manchester, packed 300 copies of ‘Trans Britain’ and mailed it to MPs across the UK.
Edited by author Christine Burns MBE, who has been an activist for trans civil rights for over 25 years, “Trans Britain: Our Journey From the Shadows” deals with generations of trans history in the UK.
The initiative aims to give MPs a “global knowledge” of the history of the trans community “before they draft laws that affect them.”
Matt Cornford, 37, owner of the Tib Street bookstore, told the Manchester Evening News: “ As an LGBT bookstore, it is important that our minorities are discovered and that our voices are heard.
“We stock books on trans people and their rights to help allies see what’s going on in trans minds, but also to help those going through a transition or questioning their own identity.
“This initiative was born after we spoke to Christine and wanted to do something more to support our trans community.
“We need to know more about their stories and their history – how can lawmakers know little about their reality but influence their health care and human rights?
“We made a shout out to our customers where we gave people the option to buy the book at cost and then send it to their local MP if they thought it could have been of use to them.
“Many have come into contact after being upset or disagreeing with the previous vote of their MPs who they say ignored trans rights.”
A total of 260 people contacted to offer to purchase one of the books, Queer Lit rounding that number to 300.
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And yesterday, November 17th, these were finally packaged and delivered straight to politicians’ homes across the UK.
Matt added, “It was our customers who stepped up and made this possible. Many contacted us because they felt their MPs needed a better understanding of trans history.
“Trans people are attacked on the streets and on social media – it is a reality for many.
“If MPs make laws that have a direct impact on these minority groups, they should have better education and better recognition of their history and stories. “
It took a total of three months for enough books to be printed by the publisher and ready to ship.
The store also took to its twitter page, QueerLitUK, to announce the news.
It first opened in August this year, stocking over 1,700 LGBTQ + titles to form a “safe place” for queer readers.
Accompanying the deliveries was a letter, written by book editor Christine Burns.
She wrote: “Much has been said and written over the past four years about trans policy and laws that have been drafted, debated, passed and enacted by Parliament and which most of us thought to be established for a long time.
“However, we live in a time when whole alternative belief systems can be invented, travel the internet, and acquire the appearance of truth before anyone verifies.
“It must be a difficult time to feel properly informed as a legislator.
“I am delighted that Queer Lit has organized an initiative with its clients to bring you a copy of my book as a beacon of knowledge.
“There is no longer an authoritative account of what trans people went through and strove to accomplish before our lives were turned into the substance of moral panic.
“You are receiving a copy of this book because one or more of your constituents have told Queer Lit that they think you would benefit from having a reliable guide to turn to.
“I hope you read it, recognize the truths of trans life, and wonder how the politics around our lives have been derailed.”
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