Trans women discussed trans rights on the BBC 45 years ago—here’s what it looked like
A BBC programme which aired 45 years ago explored transgender rights and the challenges facing trans people in the UK, in one of the first shows of its kind.
The show, which first went on air on June 2, 1973, was part of a series called Open Door that launched in April that year.
Championed by the BBC’s director of programmes at the time, Sir David Attenborough, the series provided a platform for marginalised groups to talk about issues affecting them, without any editorial intervention.
This episode, which contained terminology and language no longer deemed appropriate, but reflecting the attitudes and standards of its own era, featured trans women from the “Transex Liberation Group.”
The group members held a discussion about their experiences as trans women in the 1960s and 1970s, commenting on day-to-day challenges, workplace issues and their transition journeys.
One speaker called Rachel talked about the difficulties she faced using bathrooms—an issue resonating with the current trans rights struggle. “If you go to the toilet, people turn immediately to see which one you are going to use,” she explained. “Things like this can get rather embarrassing at times.”
The group also discussed workplace discrimination.
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