UK Government-Backed Project Suggests Museums Should Be Trans Inclusive, Uses Trans ‘My Little Pony’ Culture As An Example

Jack Hadfield

A “queer” project backed by the UK Government is instructing museums on how to be trans-friendly, offering institutions guidance including that from a trans-identified person who “managed” dysphoria via the children’s show My Little Pony.

The University of Leicester’s Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, which was formed in 1997 in response to the need to “engage diverse and ever-changing communities,” released their report on “Trans-Inclusive Culture” last week.

Designed for those working in museums, the guidance “sets out an ethical framework to support cultural organizations to advance trans inclusion,” and “explains key components of UK law, as well as some of the limitations and complexities of the law.”

The guidance “brings together leading-edge scholarship and expertise around ethics, the law, trans inclusion and equality to create guidance that can address a pressing need across the cultural sector,” said Professor Suzanne MacLeod, the co-director of the RCMG. “The first of its kind, Trans Inclusive-Culture shares actions and strategies that will equip staff, volunteers, freelancers, leaders and trustees to work together to positively impact the experiences of trans individuals and communities.”

In the report, examples of positive exhibits from the “Museum of Transology,” the UK’s “most significant collection of objects representing trans, non-binary and intersex people’s lives,” are included.

One of them was a stuffed toy of Rainbow Dash, a character from the children’s cartoon, “My Little Pony.” According to the tag displayed in the report, the donator explained that “immersing myself in My Little Pony is how I manage my dysphoria.”

Right Side of History, a gender critical user on X (formerly Twitter) highlighted the inclusion of the stuffed My Little Pony in a post to the social media site.

The report further includes examples of how museums should act in a “pro-trans” manner in different scenarios.

In Scenario 1, the report states that if a member of staff repeatedly and “intentionally” misgenders a colleague, “then it is important that this is recognised as harassment, and that this harassment may be unlawful.”

Scenario 3 advises museums that any staff members who claims that “trans rights take away women’s and girls’ rights,” should be told that “non-discrimination is not a ‘zero sum game,’” and that “personal identity is complex.”

In Scenario 6, the report warns that any removal from a museum of any items that celebrate trans culture may “constitute unlawful indirect discrimination” against trans individuals, and that any organization that is not “trans inclusive run[s] the risk of not fulfilling their obligations under the Public Sector Equality Act.” Other scenarios note that while gender-critical views are protected under UK law, certain expressions of those views could also be tantamount to harassment.

The new guidance is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, which funds research into economic and social sciences, and is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body of the British government that is funded directly by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

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