It’s Trans Day of Visibility tomorrow, a day to celebrate trans people and raise awareness of the discrimination we face.
This year’s TDOV takes place in a terrifying climate. In the US, states have banned trans healthcare for teens and made it legal for healthcare workers to refuse to treat LGBT+ people; there are moves to prevent LGBT+ people from adopting children. In the UK the Christian Right-funded war on trans women continues apace, 65% of trans people hide their identity at work, 1 in 3 employers say they wouldn’t hire a trans person (even though such discrimination is illegal) and the new Scots political party formed by sex pest Alex Salmond seems to be recruiting every transphobic politician in Scotland. It breaks my heart to see people I thought were better parroting every bit of Sunday Times anti-trans scaremongering and reciting the Christian Right’s anti-trans talking points – “women’s sex-based rights”, “protecting women and girls”, “predatory males” etc – verbatim.
There simply aren’t enough trans people to battle all of this. We need allies, and we need our allies to speak up. When your co-worker makes a joke about identifying as an attack helicopter or a relative tells the room that lesbians are being fast-tracked for gender reassignment surgery by an international Jewish conspiracy, call them on it just like you would if they were making rape jokes or being racist.
I don’t think cisgender people fully understand just how awful things are for trans people right now. Most of the UK media is against us, and the BBC frequently platforms anti-trans hate groups; in England at least there is an editorial policy that says trans people cannot be on air unless there is an anti-trans organisation on air too. Imagine a policy that said Black people could only be interviewed if Britain First got the last word. And there is a concerted, multi-faceted attack on all our legal rights by people who want trans people eradicated.
That’s not hyperbole. They don’t want schools to admit that trans people exist, or to protect trans kids from bullying, or to let trans kids play sports. They don’t want trans teens or even trans people under 25 to get healthcare. They don’t want trans adults to be able to import HRT even though the waiting list for a first appointment at one English gender clinic now appears to be 26 years. And they don’t want trans adults to be protected from violence or from discrimination in the workplace, in housing or in healthcare. They believe that “transgenderism” should be “morally mandated out of existence” and are spending hundreds of thousands of pounds to try and make that happen.
Hey if you’re cis and looking for a good chance to speak up publicly on trans rights, the trans people in your families, offices, and communities would really fucking love to hear it because we’re hearing from the people who want us dead all the fucking time right now.
You can say “I support trans people” or “support trans kids” or “trans rights are human rights.” Doesn’t matter, just say SOMETHING.
Because right now we are facing a powerful, sustained attack, one that is going to end trans people’s lives, and we are feeling very much alone.
…do you speak up when a colleague starts talking about how “trans women are men who just want to perv on girls” or a family member laments “lesbians are being told they have to be trans men” or any Sunday Times trans panic headline?
You can’t leave fighting for trans rights to trans people. We have to do it ourselves all the time and it’s personal and it’s incredibly draining and a whole bunch of people won’t even give us the time of day, but they might if it’s you, their daughter/coworker/best mate, etc.
Nobody is listening to trans people. But they might listen to you.