The L Project have created this page in order to officially address some of the concerns expressed by some members of the trans community, and those who support them, regarding our project, and particularly pertaining to the line in our current song release which refers to "men in skirts."
It has certainly stirred a lot of emotion and debate, and we wanted to deal with it with the sensitivity it deserves. We just needed some time to do that.
Now we have.
Sofia Antonia Milone - Co-ordinator of The L Project:
When we were first alerted to the fact that some members of the trans community had been deeply offended by a line in our song "It Does Get Better" we were very saddened by the notion and immediately felt the need to respond. We made a brief statement (because there was little time), which to both Georgey and I, summed up as quickly as we could our feeling behind the line in question:
"The line 'Men in their Skirts' was not intended to offend anyone. We are very supportive of the transgender community, but this line is actually a nod to all those generations of people who have been known to dress up, and play with their sexuality or subvert gender stereotypes. Because there is nothing wrong with a man in a skirt.
However, though many thanked us for responding, and understood that the intention behind the line was not to be derogatory toward transgender women, there was still a need for those who found the line insulting, despite our explanation, to explain why they had felt so hurt. We totally understood that. Because when someone feels they have not been heard, they then feel the very real need to speak, and more importantly perhaps, to make sure they have been understood.
Well we have listened, we have heard, and we promise you we have understood. It is deeply regretful that there are people that have felt this way about a song that was intended to give hope and strength to anyone who felt different.
We have responded since to a great many queries from the trans community, both on our page wall, in comments, and through private emails in some cases. We have engaged in a lot of discussion, and been open to it, because we absolutely wanted to hear the voices that felt they had been in some way let down by this song, or our project.
But we have also been aware that the energy we have taken to deal with "men in skirts" has been to the detriment of our publicity campaign, because we really are just two people with full time jobs trying to make a difference. Hence the reason for the existence of this page.
Rather than continue to repeat ourselves, we want to put this all down in one place, as succinctly as we can, so there is a reference for anyone who is questioning that line, and so that they can see there is a history to the debate. And we want people to feel free to leave comment as well.
So now I will hand you over to Georgey, the songwriter, who has spent a great deal of time talking with many members of the community, our community of L, about this, and would like to express how she feels.
Georgey Payne, Co-ordinator of The L Project and songwriter of "It Does Get Better":
We chose Diversity Role Models as a charity because they teach young people about what it means to be a transgender person. The line is not a reference to the transgender community at all, I have transgender friends, and I would never be rude like that. I simply could not write about everyone. I didn't write about disabled gay people, or those who live in countries where they could be hung just for being gay. Neither did I specifically write about Bisexual people - but please believe me that this song is for everyone. I love all trans people. I know you are often treated badly, but all of us at the L project love you all.
To me trans women are women.
I can promise you that The L Project are trying to do all that we can for you. The charity Diversity Role Models will receive the majority of the money raised. Their split is 80% and 20% will go to Stonewall. This is because Stonewall UK DO NOT support the 'T' and for Sofia and I that was very important indeed. Stonewall still do great work, but DRM go directly into the schools and educate regarding what it means to be LGB or T, and they explain to kids all about transgender people. That's why we chose to give them the majority of the money - they are truly inspiring.
We have explained to Stonewall they would have received a larger percentage had they not been merely LGB oriented, so it does really make me sad that so many of the Trans community are offended, when we really ARE looking out for you. I wish now that I could change the song, knowing now how some people have interpreted it, but the line was really never meant that way.
I hope this sheds some light on it for you all. I would never intentionally write a charity song to make anyone feel awful about themselves. I wrote the song for all LGBT who have had to struggle through life and feel like an they are on the outside.
You are not a "Men in Skirts" you are "Women in Skirts" :O) so in my opinion, it doesn't even apply to you.
nb. For the record, we at The L Project love all the letters of the alphabet, including 'T' and we really do have your best interests at heart.
All our L, Sofia & Georgey