International Transgender Day of Visibility 2023: A View From The Trenches
International Transgender Day of Visibility (31 March) was created in 2009 as a way of raising the profile of the trans community and celebrating its achievements. Almost 15 years on, the initial purpose of the day has evolved to provide an opportunity to focus on the areas where work is still required and where cisgender (non-trans) people can be allies to the trans and non-binary community.
Whilst it is important to embrace trans joy, the reality is that the future as a trans person in 2023 can seem bleak. Trans people (and LGBTQ+ people as a whole) disproportionately experience poor mental health compared to the wider population, predominantly as a consequence of societal prejudice and the difficulties of navigating a world which is still not inclusive of gender diversity.
On this basis, it is all the more important that firms take active steps to support their trans colleagues, clients and the wider community to create a safe microcosm for people to be themselves in an increasingly hostile world.
Research has shown that people who know someone who is trans are twice as likely to be allies, so the best way to sympathise with the plight of the trans community and to understand our experiences is to listen to trans voices.
Reading recommendations include:
Trans and non-binary people are often accused of hyperbole when making reference to the community's rights being under threat. What follows is a list of current attacks on the trans community from the perspective of a trans person living in the UK.
Gender Identity Clinic waiting times for a first appointment are as long as 4 years
80% of GPs refuse to prescribe bridging hormones to improve mental health before Gender Identity Clinic appointments begin
Almost half of trans people have contemplated taking their own life
Waiting lists for surgery are years long
Puberty blockers (wrongly) prohibited for under 16s
1 in 3 employers “less likely” to hire a trans person
Transgender participants banned from elite sports
Daily media attacks with headlines such as “Children sacrificed to appease trans lobby”
Hate crimes against transgender people increased by 56% in a year
Social attitudes are hardening against trans people
25% of trans people have experienced homelessness
Cisgender celebrities organising and funding activism against the trans community
Institutionalised homophobia and transphobia in the Met Police
Campaigns against LGBT-inclusive relationship and sex education in schools
Anti-trans policy in schools
Nazis attend rally in support of British anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen/Posie Parker
Anti-trans activists launching a political party
Equality and Human Rights Commission interference by its anti-trans head Kishwer Falkner
Transphobia in the Labour Party
Sir Keir Starmer advised to renege on pro-trans commitments or lose the next election
Lee Anderson indicates trans rights will be a culture war issue for the Conservative Party
Anti-trans charity LGB Alliance has offices at 55 Tufton Street
Kemi Badenoch directs organisations including the Financial Conduct Authority to remove trans-inclusive guidance
Trans people inadequately protected from conversion therapy
There is still cause to be hopeful - history has shown that the progress of civil rights movements is seldom linear. However, the support and advocacy of trans allies, guided by the trans and non-binary community, is critical. Three tangible things that you can do as an ally are:
Listen to and amplify trans voices
Educate yourself on issues affecting the trans and non-binary community
Challenge transphobia when you see it
Most importantly, take part in conversations with the people around you and advocate for trans and non-binary people.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” - Desmond Tutu
Luke Williams (he/him/his) is the Global Member Relationship Manager at LGBT Great.
Luke is responsible for forging relationships with new LGBT Great members and facilitating discussion and best practice sharing within the corporate member community. He is a trans man and non-practising solicitor, and the current Chair of the Law Society’s LGBTQ+ Solicitors Network. Please feel free to contact Luke at email@example.com or add him on LinkedIn.