Trans Day of Visibility falls very close to the beginning of Spring – a time when I try to spend even more time with my own family and friends.
Without my family and friends, I couldn’t imagine being able to say, “I didn’t just survive, I succeeded.” They gave me the strength and support to get through my own journey when I publicly aligned my gender expression with my gender identity – what is often referred to as ‘coming out’ as trans - almost two decades ago.
At the time, they were fearful for my safety as well as the likely abuse and ridicule. They all stood with me and neither of those fears were realised.
When I first came out, the trans community were not nearly as visible as they are now. We were absent from television, books and popular culture and unable to see ourselves reflected in the world around us. So much so that my private, personal story was emblazoned across national and local newspapers.
When I first came out, the trans community were not nearly as visible as they are now.
But things slowly began to shift, members of the trans community from all walks of life became increasingly frustrated at our lack of representation and began telling their stories and speaking out.
Twenty years on, we have a huge amount to celebrate and be proud of, not least the achievements of those who bravely stepped up to share own their experiences, so trans young people in the future would not have to feel alone and isolated.
Fantastic role models and advocates for the trans community, such as Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Chaz Bono, Stephen Whittle and Christine Burns, began to feature in writing and popular culture. They moved the conversation away from tired tropes and stereotypes, toward a world where gender diversity is celebrated and trans identities are valued.
Despite this progress, we’ve seen a recent resurgence in anti-trans messages both online and in the media. There are daily newspaper articles debating our right to exist, using misinformation and shocking headlines to create an environment where the trans community are viewed as a threat. This narrative is much like the attacks the LGB community faced in the late 1980s around the introduction of Section 28.
Despite this progress, we’ve seen a recent resurgence in anti-trans messages both online and in the media.
Although we know there are huge numbers of people who support trans equality and want to make sure their schools, workplaces and place of worship are inclusive of trans people, the constant attacks from a vocal minority of people is still incredibly hurtful.
That is why on this Trans Day of Visibility, many trans people still do not feel comfortable being visible, celebrating their identities and sharing their stories. Many of my trans friends and colleagues are exhausted by the daily attacks on our identities and fear having to face abuse and discrimination while just trying to go about our day.
This cannot continue. For trans people to feel safe enough to be visible, we need more people to come out as allies and show their support for the trans community.
This cannot continue. For trans people to feel safe enough to be visible, we need more people to come out as allies and show their support for the trans community. Now is the time to step up and take action - read about trans people’s experiences, challenge transphobia when you hear it and show support to your trans friends and families.
Solidarity is so important, trans people are part of all communities and we need to stand together. This is how we make progress towards a world where all LGBT people are accepted without exception.
Working together works – and we can make lives better.