Trans Day of Visibility

The 31st March is Trans Day of Visibility. It is an important day to remind us all to take action and fight for Transgender people. It’s a day to raise awareness of the discrimination they face everyday. It’s a day for transgender and non-binary people to have the opportunity to be seen positively and have their voices amplified (although we should be striving for this to be possible every day).

On Trans Day of Visibility 2022, we want to amplify the voice of one of our community members. We asked them what Trans Day of Visibility means to them, this is their response.

For most of my life, I didn’t know I transgender. I knew I wasn’t what they told me I was when I was a child, but that was all I knew. Looking back, my childhood and most of my adulthood was full of signs that the gender I was assigned at birth did not fit. I remember some of my happiest time at junior school was when I had to sit with the girls, and how I had to pretend to be happy when, a term later, I was moved to sit with the boys.

Whenever I would see transgender people represented in media they were always freaks, mentally ill, twisted sexual predators, or of course, the butt of the joke. So many times. Big laughs. And that was the image presented of trans people for so long. I can’t say that there were never positive or even just neutral depictions of trans people, but I can’t remember any. I can give you plenty of examples of the negative though.

In recent years, we’ve started to see more positive and more real representations, but at the same time we’ve also seen more and more fearmongering in the press and from politicians, celebrities and others who somehow manage to get their uninformed (and in some cases provably wrong) opinions into the headlines.

If you believe what you see in the media, all trans people are just men who want to invade women’s spaces. We all just want to get into women’s toilets, and women’s hostels, and take over women’s sports. That’s all we are.

And that’s all most people think of when you talk about trans people. Pronouns and political correctness, celebrities coming out as trans, celebrities denouncing trans people, and let’s not forget a celebrity coming out as trans AND denouncing trans people. Yeah, that one I’m still figuring out.

The media has a history of this; of taking marginalised groups and vilifying them, of fearmongering and scapegoating, of perpetuating (and often leading) the othering of groups who most need support, love and belonging.

Of course, it’s not “all media”. And of course, it’s not “all people”. There are advocates out there. There are supporters. But either way, having your humanity and right to literally exist debated all over the media isn’t exactly positive representation.

The image presented the vast majority of the time is still a caricature, one way or the other. We’re in the media so often, but it’s not us. We seem to be everywhere, but we’re not seen. For me, Trans Day of Visibility is about the right, even the possibility, of being seen as me, the real me, and not all these false ideas of who I am.

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