Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day which is meant to remind people all over the world that trans people not only exist but should be seen and supported a lot more than they are – especially in our current climate where it seems as though being transgender is akin to less than human.
Every day there is news of either a small victory for the trans community or a large setback. Whilst I am not trans myself, I am very active in the LGBTQ+ community and have multiple close friends who identify as different to the gender which was assigned to them at birth. It is heartbreaking to see the UK government turn down reforms which would make being transgender easier, such as rejecting both the ability to self identify for medial purposes and refusing to allow legal recognition for under 18’s, like other developed countries such as Norway and the Republic of Ireland.
Let’s get away from the bad news though and focus on the good things happening in the trans community and the people that proudly represent who they are as a person.
For me, one of my favourite recent developments is the YouTuber Abigail Thorn from Philosophy Tube announcing her identity as a trans woman after hiding it for so long. She joins the ever growing community of trans YouTubers such as Natalie Wynn of ContraPoints, Nikita Dragun, Gigi Gorgeous and many more.
In the midst of the human rights abuses which America calls “lawmaking”, which has repealed many advancements for the trans community, there is a hugely positive story which is an important landmark in American politics. On March 25th 2021, Rachel Levine was confirmed for the position of Assistant Secretary of Health at the Department of Health and Human Services in a vote of 52 to 48 – showing that at least 2 Republicans care about ethics.
On top of this, we have seen that whilst Joe Biden is not the most sensitive to the lives of non-Americans, he has at least been implementing executive orders for the good of the LGBTQ+ Americans after they spent the last four years fearing the words “executive order”. Just recently, President Biden issued an order for all people to be given equal treatment under the law “no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation”, which is a large step in the right direction.
An unexpected but welcome surprise in the fight is currently going on in Pakistan; recently a school has been opened – with the support of officials – for transgender people only in order to learn about Islam from a fellow transgender woman. Rani Khan has used her own money and connections to supply a place for those in the trans community in Pakistan to study without fear of judgement or violence, with promises from officials to help those who study there find jobs too.
So, on this day in which we celebrate and view transgender people as who they are – people – it is good to look toward the future of trans rights as well as what is being done right now to further them. We should also educate ourselves on how rights are being taken away and stand up for our friends, family, and partners to show them they’re not alone whilst showing those who wish to harm the trans community that they’re on the wrong side of history.
Feature Image Credit: Refinery29