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Embracing Transgender Awareness Week: How can you be a better ally?

This Transgender awareness week, we want to take time to think about the challenges the transgender community face, as well as ways we can all be better allies.

Nia Griffiths

Nov 13th, 2023


Transgender Awareness Week is an important reminder for us all to reflect on the challenges faced by transgender and gender-nonconforming people. This week is not only an opportunity to raise awareness about the difficulties they encounter but also a call to action for building stronger allyship and fostering inclusivity. In this blog, we'll explore the significance of Transgender Awareness Week, the challenges faced by the transgender community, and how we can all actively contribute to creating a more supportive and understanding society.

Challenges Faced by the Transgender Community

Discrimination and Stigma: Transgender individuals often face discrimination and stigma in various aspects of their lives, including employment, education, healthcare, and housing. This systemic prejudice contributes to higher rates of unemployment, homelessness, and overall marginalisation

Mental Health Struggles: The transgender community frequently grapples with mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression, and a higher risk of suicide. These struggles can be made worse by social isolation, lack of understanding, and limited access to affirming healthcare

Lack of Legal Protections: In many places, legal protection for transgender individuals is not sufficient to protect them or doesn't exist. This leaves them vulnerable to discrimination, harassment, and violence without any or enough legal standing.

What can you do? Be an ally!

  1. Educate Yourself: Allyship begins with education. Take the time to learn about transgender experiences, terminology, and the unique challenges faced by this community. Engage with reputable resources, literature, and firsthand accounts to gain a deeper understanding.
  2. Listen and Validate: Actively listen to transgender individuals and validate their experiences. Creating a safe space for open and honest communication fosters trust and helps break down the barriers of misunderstanding.
  3. Advocate for Inclusivity: Advocate for transgender-inclusive policies in your workplace, school, and community. Support organisations and initiatives that work towards equality and inclusivity for all gender identities.
  4. Respect Pronouns and Identities: Respecting and using the correct pronouns and gender identities is important and simple. It shows a fundamental level of respect for an someones self-identified gender and helps create a more inclusive environment.

Who can you learn from?

There are many transgender activists that can be researched online, listen to podcasts or through offering you a gilmpse into their lives and activism on social media. We want to champion trans voices, as who better to tell their stories than themselves?

  1. Munroe Bergdorf: Munroe Bergdorf, a prominent transgender activist and model, has been a vocal advocate for transgender rights. Her advocacy extends to challenging societal norms and promoting inclusivity in various spheres, including the fashion industry.
  2. Steven Appleby: Steven Appleby, a well-known cartoonist, and writer openly shares his experiences as a transgender man. His work reflects his journey, contributing to a broader understanding of the diverse narratives within the transgender community.
  3. Paris Lees: Paris Lees is a journalist, presenter, and transgender rights activist. She is known for her work in promoting transgender visibility in the media and has written for various publications on issues related to gender identity and equality.
  4. Fox Fisher: Fox Fisher is an artist, filmmaker, and LGBTQ+ rights advocate. They co-directed the documentary "My Genderation," which explores diverse transgender experiences. Fisher is also involved in activism around gender recognition and representation.

Where can you learn more?

Books

Boy erased: A book, and award-winning film, telling Garrard Conleys story of his childhood, within which he was forced to go through conversion therapy by his religious family.

Pride: A piece of non-fiction by Matthew Todd beginning with the night the Stonewall bar was raided and explores pivotal moments in the LGBTQ+ movement.

TV/Film

Disclosure: A Netflix documentary aimed at educating and helping those who do not know anyone from the transgender community unpack the representation of transgender people in TV and film from the last 100 years.

Secret Love: This film is about a lesbian couple who spent most of their life hiding their relationship from the world. They only came out in 2009 to their families, so they tell the story of hiding their relationship in a homophobic society.

Podcasts

#QueerAF: This podcast features a different young person’s voice every episode to tell their most notable queer story. The podcast gives you access to a wide variety of different LGBTQ+ experiences.

What the Trans: a UK based news podcast for trans, non binary and allies. They dissect the news with recent episodes titled “The UK press lies about trans women being dangerous again” and “Disabled and trans during lockdown”.

Support for people in the transgender community

Stonewall: A charity for the LGBTQ+ community, challenging and changing policy and providing education around LGBTQ+ rights, and challenges they face.

Mermaids: A charity supporting trans, non-binary and gender-diverse children, young people and their families. They have a helpline for both the children and their families, a webchat, online forums and offer training and education to schools and colleges.

CliniQ: A Transgender wellbeing and sexual health service(London)

Gendered Intelligence: Support and advocacy for transgender youth

LGBT Foundation: Supporting LGB and trans+ communities

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