March 31st marks International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness about the discrimination and challenges the community has and continues to face. This day is an opportunity to show support for the transgender community and to recognize the impact and contributions that trans individuals have made in society. As we celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, it is essential to reflect on both the struggles and triumphs of the trans community. Let us recognize the contributions of the trans community have been made by honoring the experiences that trans people have fought for and are still actively fighting for. Let us commit to creating a more just and equitable world for the trans community by celebrating trans bravery, courage, sacrifices, and unrelenting determination for social justice.
Many trans individuals face significant challenges and discrimination in their daily lives. Many trans individuals are the victims of violence, harassment, and discrimination in employment, housing, healthcare, and education. The National Center for Transgender Equality reports that transgender individuals are more likely to experience poverty, unemployment, and mental health issues than the general public. The trans community is also disproportionately affected by HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. These challenges also disproportionately impact trans people of color and those who belong to multiple minority groups, often facing intersecting forms of discrimination and marginalization.
Despite these challenges, transgender people have significantly contributed to society in various fields. Transgender individuals have been at the forefront of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, advocating for equal rights and protections for all individuals. Transgender people have also made significant contributions in art, music, literature, science, technology, and other fields.
A prominent member of the trans community was Marsha P. Johnson, a transgender woman of color. Johnson was an activist and advocated for transgender rights, co-founding the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR). STAR provided support and resources to homeless transgender youth. Another prominent transwoman is Laverne Cox, an actress, and advocate who has been a trailblazer for transgender representation in media. Dr. Alan Hart was a transman who was a pioneer in advocating for gender-affirming surgery, ultimately leading to the first time a psychiatrist recommended “the removal of a healthy organ based solely on gender identity.”
Ways to Support:
This year’s International Transgender Day of Visibility reminds us to continue supporting and uplifting transgender people in our communities. We can all play a role in creating a more inclusive and equitable society by educating ourselves about past and current transgender issues and advocating for trans rights, which are constantly under attack through the continuous introduction of harmful and derogatory bills into legislation across the country. Below we’ll look at ways to best support someone who identifies as transgender or gender non-conforming.
Being Knowledgeable of transgender issues: Far too often, it is easy to remain unaware of specific communities’ struggles when we do not directly belong to that community. Many fantastic resources collect data that comprehensively demonstrate these issues in approachable ways. Organizations such as The National Center for Transgender Equality, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and The Trevor Project, can be excellent resources for staying up-to-date and equipped with accurate and current research.
Affirming and supportive language: Using affirming and supportive language is essential in creating a welcoming and inclusive environment. This involves remaining current on affirming language and being willing to integrate inclusive language into our daily communication. Remember that the trans community is not a monolith with no standard set of rules. Using individualized preferred language, terminology, and methods of communication often vary from person to person; therefore, when appropriate, asking someone’s preferred gender-affirming language or what someone’s pronouns are can go a long way in creating a safe environment.
Show your support and advocacy. To create a safe and inclusive environment, it is paramount to use individuals’ correct names, pronouns, and other identifying language and to respect their privacy. Be an ally and advocate for transgender individuals, especially those facing discrimination and marginalization. Marginalization and discrimination can appear in several forms and may not always be apparent or obvious. Researching common overt and covert discriminatory practices demonstrates a desire to learn and grow alongside trans people. Show your support by attending rallies, fundraisers, and other events that uplift and celebrate the transgender community.
Some Helpful Resources:
- Transfamilies.org – a local organization that aims to support trans and gender-diverse children and their families throughout transitioning.
- National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) – This organization works to advance the rights and equality of transgender people through advocacy and education.
- Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – HRC is a national organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ rights and equality, including transgender rights.
- Transgender Law Center (TLC) – TLC is a national organization that provides legal assistance and advocacy for transgender individuals and their families.
- Trans Lifeline – This is a crisis hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people. It provides support and resources for those in crisis.
- The Trevor Project – This organization provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth, including transgender and non-binary individuals.
- GLAAD – This organization works to promote understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in the media and society at large.
- Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) – This organization provides legal representation and education for transgender individuals and their families.
- Gender Spectrum – This organization provides resources and support for transgender and non-binary youth and their families.
- PFLAG – This organization provides support, education, and advocacy for families and allies of LGBTQ+ individuals, including those who are transgender or non-binary.
We hope this blog has provided valuable information and insights into the importance of affirming and supportive language for transgender individuals. Mente is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment where everyone is respected, valued, and supported in their journey.
If you or someone you know is seeking gender-affirming care, or any other mental health concern, we warmly invite you to contact us to discover more about our services and schedule a free consultation.