[Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trans Pride 2020 has been cancelled and Category Is Books have temporarily closed their shop since this article was first published in the March Issue of SNACK mag. We’ve decided that we should still mention these to highlight their work and aims, rather than simply remove them from the conversation.]
International Transgender Day of Visibility is commemorated each year on March 31 and is a time to celebrate transgender people around the world and the courage it takes to live openly and authentically, while also raising awareness around the discrimination trans people still face. Stonewall’s “Trans Report” presents concerning statistics about the UK’s trans citizens:
- Two in five trans people (41 percent) and three in ten non-binary people (31 per cent) have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months.
- One in four trans people (25 percent) have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives.
- Two in five trans people (41 percent) said that healthcare staff lacked understanding of specific trans health needs when accessing general healthcare services in the last year
There is much to be done to safeguard the rights of transgender people in Scotland, and while there has been strong progress in trans inclusion in mainstream conversations about equality, we cannot let such achievement lead to complacency. With that in mind, here are some ways in which you can celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility wherever and whoever you are.
Trans Pride Scotland 2020 (Cancelled due to Coronavirus Restrictions)
One of the biggest ways to celebrate is to attend Trans Pride Scotland 2020. Paisley is hosting Scotland’s third Trans Pride event on the weekend of Trans Day of Visibility, Saturday 28th March 2020. Mustering for the march will begin at 12:00 midday at County Square, just outside Paisley Gilmour Street Station. They “plan to be visible, audible and very findable;” make sure you bring placards, signs and anything to show off your trans pride! At 12:30, the march will depart and follow the planned route along the High Street. The march will arrive at UWS Students’ Union by 13:00 and our group will head into the main hall. The march be followed by workshops and stalls running in the Union itself. The event is inclusive and open to all trans people, including non-binary people, and their friends, families and allies.
Host a trans movie night
For movie buffs, you could host a night dedicated to trans stories in the comfort of your own home. Fire up Netflix and try to find the best in cinema exploring the trans experience: we can recommend titles such as Sebastián Lelio’s Oscar-winning A Fantastic Woman, Sean Baker’s modern classic Tangerine, Sabine Bernardi’s tragicomedy Romeos and Netflix documentary The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson. Oh, go on, watch Paris is Burning too for good measure. Charge a couple of quid at the door and give the money to Scottish Trans Alliance!
Do some homework
There is no such thing as one trans experience: perhaps you could take time to yourself and learn more about what it means to be transgender, especially if you are an LGBT+ ally. Research the Human Rights Campaign’s resources on trans identity and educate yourself on trans terminology, read up on important figures in trans history such as April Ashley and Sylvia Rivera, or spend some time learning about the intersections of transgender identity, and how race, sexuality, class, disability and citizenship inform the experience of trans people. I would recommend reading the aforementioned “Trans Report” complied by Stonewall to bone up on the ways in which many trans people in the UK face much adversity. It is very comprehensive and may allow you to see ways in which you can positively contribute towards trans equality.
Visit Category Is and celebrate trans authors
Located in the heart of the south side of Glasgow, Category Is is an inclusive book shop dedicated to promoting stories by queer people and a safe place to access them. Take the time this month to visit them and find works by the likes of Leslie Feinberg, Janet Mock and Juno Dawson. Speaking to SNACK last September, owners Fi and Charlotte stated that “Queer spaces are needed given the current political climate and the rise in transphobic and homophobic violence across the UK. We made a space and filled it with information, with stories, with queer words and worlds to escape to.”
The Category Is shop is currently closed due to the ongoing coronavirus situation. They’ve set up a project where you can donate money to ‘pay books forward’ or buy a book from the pay forward shelf.
Volunteer your time and energy
The lead up to Trans Visibility Day could inspire you to dedicate some time to the community and volunteer in whatever way you can. In Scotland, there are several LGBT+ organisations you could support, such as LGBT Youth Scotland, Switchboard, the LGBT support hotline, Stonewall and Equality Network. You may have to undergo some training depending on the area in which you are interested, but this could be a great opportunity for you to support the trans people in our community using your unique skill set.
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