International Transgender Day of Visibility is commemorated each year on March 31st 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’ (2018) 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 preceding 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 preceding 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 2021
One of the biggest ways to celebrate (in the absence of actually being able to get together) is to attend Trans Pride Scotland 2021 who are running an entire week of online activities for Trans Week of Visibility starting Sunday 28 March.
Host a trans movie night
For movie buffs, you could host a Zoom night dedicated to trans stories in the comfort of your own home. Fire up your favourite streaming service 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 (Rent for 99p on Amazon Prime), 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.
Volunteer your time and energy
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, 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.