Australia ProBono has published a great article ahead of Transgender Awareness week (November 13 – 19), republished here:
Many communities will be celebrating, gathering, and mourning together next week in commemoration of Transgender Awareness Week, running from 13–19 November, and on Transgender Day of Remembrance on 20 November.
While Transgender Awareness Week has its roots in trans communities and has gone on to be embraced by the broader LGBTIQA+ community, it is now observed in many workplaces across the social services sector and beyond.
The week is significant not only because it raises the visibility of trans and gender diverse people in our own lives, as well as nationally and globally, but also because it promotes connection to the issues affecting trans and gender diverse communities, amplifies trans people’s voices and experiences, and importantly, brings attention to issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence inflicted on trans and gender diverse people.
In addition to providing visibility, connection, and celebration, Transgender Awareness Week offers an important opportunity for allies to understand and bring attention to issues of prejudice, discrimination and violence that affect trans and gender diverse people.
Trans and gender diverse people continue to face marginalisation and discrimination in the form of transphobia and transmisogyny, which describes how trans women face a more heightened and aggressive form of misogyny.
Negative attitudes and beliefs about trans people; irrational fears and misunderstandings; disbelief or dismissal of a person’s pronouns or gender identity and misgendering; derogatory language and name-calling; and bullying, abuse, and violence are all examples of transphobia.
Transphobia and associated stigma can also create barriers and deterrents to the access and inclusion of trans and gender diverse people in services, resources and communities.
As allies, it is our responsibility to work in solidarity to name, challenge, and break down these barriers. We should all be committed to challenging marginalisation and discrimination based on gender identity and expression as a sector that prides itself on values of care and inclusivity.
Consider how your actions will speak louder than words throughout next week and what your organisation can do to promote the inclusion, affirmation, and celebration of trans and gender diverse people.
Transgender Awareness Week concludes on 20 November with Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). The day was founded in 1998 by trans advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith, who held a vigil in memory of Rita Hester, a trans woman who was killed that year. The vigil evolved into a commemoration of all trans lives lost to violence that year, and it has since become an annual event.
Today, TDOR is a day of community gathering, togetherness and solidarity to remember those lost, celebrate resilience in the face of adversity and pledge to fight transphobia in order to create a safe and inclusive world for all.
In Gwendolyn’s own words, “TDOR seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people—sometimes in the most brutal ways possible—it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”
While all forms of transphobia must be condemned, it is critical to recognise that not all forms of transphobia are the same, especially when trans women face disproportionate rates of discrimination and violence. Last year, 96 per cent of those murdered globally were trans women or transfeminine people.
Beyond Transgender Awareness Week, the organisations in which we work and the communities we are part of should contribute to the inclusion of trans and gender diverse people through respect and the pursuit of equity.
Creating cultures of belonging necessitates ongoing care, attention and support that should be embedded in policies and strategies. The reward is a thriving environment in which everyone can flourish and meaningful change can be made.
For further information about Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance, visit Minus 18 and Trans Awareness Week and TDOR websites. For anonymous, LGBTI peer support and referral, contact QLife on 1800 184 527.