Transgender Day of Visibility: Being visible as a trans ally

On Transgender Day of Visibility, it is important for allies to make themselves visible for the transgender people who do not feel able to be seen.


What is Transgender Day of Visibility?

March 31st is Transgender Day of Visibility, a day that has happily grown in reach and impact since it was started in 2009 by Rachel Crandall-Crocker

What began as a simple Facebook post and a will to create something positive rapidly became a worldwide phenomenon, proving this was something that the trans community had been ready and waiting for. 

Whilst there was already Transgender Awareness Week, leading up to Transgender Day of Remembrance, these, whilst important and necessary times of reflection, sharing and strengthening bonds, didn’t leave the community feeling positive or hopeful for the future. Crandall-Crocker knew something more was needed. She knew the community deserved a reason to feel joy, be seen and let the world know they were here to stay.

We should be grateful she had that moment of inspiration. There has probably never been a more important time for Transgender Day of Visibility, here in the UK. It is a recognised fact that our mainstream media are now consistently trans-hostile. 

What issues do transgender people face?

A recent court case involving a young person who had ‘detransitioned’ or returned to their natal gender, and the parent of an unnamed transgender child, caused more dismay. The judge ruled that future decisions about the treatment and care of young trans people under 16 would no longer be up to the families, the specialist doctors, and more importantly, the young person themselves. It would instead need to be presented to court and ruled on by a judge before any treatment could take place.

The judge’s decision was reversed, soon afterwards.

It should be understood that treatment for the under 16s in the UK involves counselling and hormones, where appropriate, and never surgery. Also, the wait times for being seen at one of the few Gender Clinics available is around 3 years. 

To get seen at the Tavistock, the site of the only gender identity clinic for children, you now join a waiting list of 5,500. In the case of drugs to suppress puberty and give the child the chance to make a more considered decision and face less risky and invasive procedures, the timeframe for prescribing them can vanish during the wait. 

As it was, this court ruling left vulnerable children currently in the middle of treatment cut off, their doctors unable to continue treating them, and other children on the verge of reaching the top of waiting list were left suddenly without hope.

Transgender Day of Visibility is more important now than ever. But, it is also harder now than ever before for trans people to safely be visible. Of course, we can all help amplify the voices of those in the trans community who are able to stand up and be who they are, but more than that, we need to make our own stance clear. We need to let everyone know that we don’t want any part of a society that excludes, refuses to protect or denies the rights of trans people.

So many trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people cannot be visible on March 31st. It’s not safe for them at school, at work or even at home. Their real lives are invisible to any but a very few. On Transgender Day of Visibility, let them know you see them, too. Let them know they are not alone, and we are here for them, when they are ready.

What does it mean to be an ally?

I am not trans. I’m cisgender. But some of my friends are trans; my family, too. I know I cannot possibly know what it is like for them, to be out in a society where they are demonised and abused by the ignorant and malicious few who are afraid of anything outside their own experience. I cannot imagine the strength of will it must take to be out in the world, knowing with every step you could be challenged or threatened, simply for daring to exist as who you truly are.

But I see them. I see what they go through. I’ve talked to trans people who’ve decided to come out, trans people who are still on that journey, and trans people who still haven’t got there yet. That’s been my privilege. I see them too.

This Transgender Day of Visibility, let the ones who are still invisible know we are out here. Let them know we see them. If you are an ally, step up and speak up and let trans people know that we are ready to do our best to make this world a safe enough place for all trans people to be visible. 

Let them know you see them. 

Imagine if there was one ally for every closeted trans person. Or two. Or five, or twenty… 

Imagine the difference that could make. The way to equality and true equity is not just via those with less power and privilege fighting harder against those above them. It requires those with more power and privilege to reach down and help those below them. Support them. Raise them up. Hear what they are saying and be part of the change needed.

Make sure you see trans people on Transgender Day of Visibility. And when you do, listen to what they say, hear their stories and amplify them. But remember all those who can’t be visible, as well. Even though they are invisible right now, we see them too.

#TDOV22 #ISeeYou #SeeingTheInvisible


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