A message from Yasmin, your Trans and Non-Binary Officer...
International Transgender Day of Visibility is a worldwide annual celebration dedicated to transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination we face. It is commemorated on 31st March (this Sunday) and is an important time to amplify voices across the diverse trans community.
Although the word transgender has only been in use for the past 40 years, as a community we have been around for thousands of years. ‘Transgender’ is an umbrella term for people who feel their real gender is different from their birth gender, and transgender people are referenced in almost every major religion and society - with varying degrees of tolerance and acceptance.
For centuries in Britain we were a mainly hidden minority, afraid to come out for fear of losing our families, spouses, friends, jobs and lives as we knew them. Recent equality law has in theory helped safeguard our livelihoods and the introduction of same-sex marriage has meant we no longer have to divorce our partners if we choose to transition. But it is still not a decision that people make lightly.
Although we cannot access precise figures about the size of the UK's transgender population, the community is growing - what we can be sure of, is that each individual’s experience of living a trans life is entirely unique.
Recently, the visibility and prominence of the transgender community in the media and society has increased dramatically. Often considered the forgotten and underrepresented component of the LGBTQ+ community, for decades trans people have been vilified, ridiculed and misunderstood by many in society. However, a recent and seemingly insatiable media interest in the subject is helping to pull the trans community out from the sidelines and place them firmly in the spotlight. But, as this visibility isn’t necessarily translating to a shift in attitudes and acceptance of this long marginalised community, has this spotlight meant that trans individuals have been put in the firing line for hate and online trolls?
With the increase of transgender individuals within the media, there has also been an increase in abuse and hate, with a large proportion of stories about trans people in mass media being those of hate and negativity. Trans people should be able to exist and be visible alongside cis people without such negative press. A lot of this hate comes from people not understanding what it means to be trans and/or having no education on the topic.
It’s important for cis people to educate themselves. It is not a trans person’s duty to explain and justify their existence. Give them visibility. SEE THEM. Don’t only accept who they are, but also celebrate them for their strength!!! To me, Trans Day of Visibility is about being proud of who you are and reminding the world that transgender people exist, and we are diverse and we are beautiful like everyone else.