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Until recently, I had not heard of you or your valuable work protecting children in dangerous parts of the world. You appeared on my radar last week when, in a since-deleted tweet, you branded me a "weird creature" and misgendered me, in an ongoing conversation in mockery of trans lives. I acknowledge your explanation that you meant to describe me as Shakespeare's "wild creature" and your phone somehow tricked you into writing "Mr Bergdorf".
I may seem to some an outspoken, confident trans woman of colour, but every fight I have won has taken a chunk out of me. To discover that yet another person of power and influence has chosen to humiliate me has caused me considerable personal distress.
I thank you for your unreserved apology posted on Twitter. You state that you never meant to cause hurt or offence to anyone in the LGBTQ+ community whose rights you support.
In subsequent interviews, you said that you have been expressing yourself "casually". "Casual" is a term I have come to know only too well as a woman of colour. "Casual racism", for instance, is not casual for those who suffer it. "Casual" sexism or homophobia is not casual for those who experience it.
You suggested it would be "fun" to meet. This is an admirable show of optimism. I'm yet to receive any direct correspondence befitting such a sensitive invitation. Baroness, as the mixed-race trans daughter of a working-class family who has been subjected to a stream of racist and transphobic abuse following your tweets, I cannot claim to find a meeting with you "fun". © Provided by Evening StandardMunroe Bergdorf (Dave Benett/Getty Images)
While this poisonous conversation may constitute an amusement to those who are in a position to pit their privilege against a minority, for people like me, it is an extremely painful onslaught on the very core of who we are.
Furthermore, in your apology, you reiterated your troubling refrain around a "small minority with predatory and malign motives who use cover of Trans cause for their own ends". If you hold such deep concerns, you must alert us immediately, in full transparency, to the dangerous conspiracy you have uncovered, citing all evidence. What are these "predatory and malign" motives and what evidence do you have of them?
You also state that you support the rights of the LGBT+ community. But you voted in favour of an amendment to kill off the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. Following your apology to me, you have continued to post and share content which leads me to question its sincerity. On 28 June you tweeted support of Graham Linehan coming back to Twitter. This is a man who has been banned from Twitter following disturbing tweets about trans women and their supporters. © Provided by Evening StandardBaroness Nicholson: (AFP via Getty Images)
Nonetheless, I believe that calm, honest, generous conversation is the key to progress. Though many of my followers would understandably disagree with my decision, I accept your invitation of a meeting for tea and cake in a spirit of openness and reconciliation.
Our public profiles offer us a valuable opportunity to calm the conversation around gender issues and prove that opposing views can be expressed constructively. I don't bear grudges and comments we make in the past should not be considered a permanent stain on our characters, so long as we make an effort to listen and learn.
Before we could meet, however, I would ask you to apologise unreservedly to all trans people and their families on Twitter who have been caused great pain by a number of your tweets.
I would then suggest a meeting which can be recorded and shared, so that each individual can judge it for themselves. I hope we can find a way to draw a line under this unhelpful and damaging chapter and work together to grow a new dialogue around such important issues.