Trans Awareness Week, 13-19 November, aims to raise visibility and address the issues that the community faces. Trans people face huge barriers in jobs, housing, and healthcare. Trans people are at increased risk of violence, and it is difficult not to feel like society is failing us. Our identities are constantly questioned by transphobic media. They think that who we are is up for debate and insist on portraying some of us as predators. Not all of us are affected in the same way and thinking about the intersections of our identities is key for trans liberation.
There are so many trans-led initiatives out there which goes to show that we as a community are doing the work to support each other and keep each other safe and alive. But if you’re an ally, you do have an active role to play. Being an ally means constantly showing up for trans people.
There are different ways you can do it, not just during this week, but throughout the year. Don’t be complicit with transphobia and call it out when you see it. Remember you can’t be neutral in situations of injustice. Educate yourself and help educate those around you. Educating people about issues that affect you has an emotional toll so help trans people do the work. Don’t expect to get all the answers from trans folks. Show up to protests, be vocal about your support of trans liberation. Use inclusive language and work to make the environment accessible and comfortable for all. Help trans people feel safe.
If you are able to, below are groups and organisations that would benefit from financial donations.
Black Trans Foundation: a non-profit organisation working for the social advancement of Black trans people in the UK. Their first project is the Black Trans Free Therapy Fund, which aims to provide free therapy to Black trans people in the UK. Therapy is inaccessible to a lot of people in the UK and this issue is amplified for Black trans people. They explain: “the complex intricacies of Blackness and transness mean that finding a therapist who can adequately support growth and healing becomes even more difficult”.
We Exist Trans Healthcare Fund: the fund was set up as a direct response to the current medical system that is failing trans people. Trans people referred to the gender identity clinic to begin medical transition are likely to experience a minimum five years waiting time. As put by We Exist: “transness is medically pathologised by our government, but then not treated like any other medical condition. Waiting five years is harmful at the very least, life threatening at most. The process is also violently dehumanising, having to justify our existence and needs to numerous cisgender doctors, who often treat us with suspicion. As trans people we have taken it upon ourselves to support ourselves and one another, through fundraisers, mutual aid and now our hardship fund”.
G(end)er Swap: a travelling support initiative and an awareness campaign celebrating and educating on gender diversity through fashion. They advocate for inclusivity within mainstream shopping spaces and create spaces for gender non-conforming people to access community, clothes, and self-care resources. For a lot of us, fashion is a gender affirming tool so the resources provided by G(end)er Swap can have a huge positive impact.
No matter what the world sees, trans people are magic. We are strong and we are power, we are beauty, we are love and we are freedom. We are truly us. We should also be allowed just to be, it should not be this hard. To my trans siblings, I see you and I send love and solidarity, today and always. This time I’ll end with the words of Travis Alabanza from one of their incredible performances (TW: transphobia, homophobia), to trans and gender non-conforming people out there: “I do not need to know you, in order to love you”.