By Skye Davies, Trainee Psychotherapist and Peer Support Worker at TransPlus & 56T
Today is Trans Day of Visibility where we celebrate the lives of trans and non-binary people.
Rachel Crandall-Crocker started Trans Day of Visibility in 2009 to acknowledge the diversity, beauty, and joy of the trans community. It’s a day for trans people to take ownership of the way that we are represented.
Historically, the portrayal of trans people in the media has been overwhelmingly negative, and research has shown that this negative coverage has increased in the last few years. This negative representation can foster misunderstanding and transphobia which in turn leads to higher rates of mental health difficulties, self-harm, and suicidal ideation for trans people.
Visibility matters because seeing a group as they truly are increases social acceptance and support. The mental health of trans people drastically improves when they are supported and treated with respect. Importantly, trans visibility also gives hope to young trans people who see themselves reflected in older trans people who are happy and thriving. It shows them that they too can live a fulfilling life as a trans person.
When we talk about visibility, we should also bear in mind who in the trans community is most visible. Representation often centres people who are white, non-disabled, neurotypical, middle class, slim, and gender conforming (in other words, those whose presentations align with social gender norms). When we celebrate trans visibility, we should celebrate the diversity of the community including trans people who are gender non-conforming, people of colour, disabled, neurodiverse, fat, and working class. Diverse representation is important as it more accurately reflects the community and shows to trans people that there are many ways of being trans.
Although Trans Day of Visibility is one day a year, our support for trans people should be all year round. Here are some things you can do to support the trans community:
- Support the trans people in your lives by using their correct name and pronouns and respecting their choices around presentation and healthcare.
- Create spaces where trans people feel safe enough to be visible.
- Be vocal in your opposition to transphobia.
- State your pronouns in your email signature, Zoom name, Twitter bio and so on. This normalises the practice so that it’s not just trans people doing this.
- Promote the work of trans artists.
- Support trans organisations such as Gendered Intelligence, Mermaids, and Spectra.
- Support the ban on conversion therapy and the reform of the Gender Recognition Act.
Thank you and Happy Trans Day of Visibility!