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We are visible

Today is Transgender Day of Visibility. A day that is monumentally important to me and my community. The 31st March is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and shedding light on the discrimination faced by transgender people globally.  

 

While I can’t speak for the entire trans community, I would like to share my own experience of what it means to be visible as a trans man. Being visible is complex, and while I feel the most at home in my body that I have ever felt, I live in fear of the world outside of it.  

 

Being visible means being called sir in a restaurant. Being visible means hearing my Dad refer to me as his son. Being visible means my family calling me Artie. Being visible means being seen as a man by my workplace. Being visible means sharing that I use he/him pronouns and people respecting that without question. Being visible means seeing my little moustache hairs grow from taking testosterone. Being visible means dancing freely at concerts that I wish I had been to as a teenager. Being visible means finally getting to experience the life my heart desired for so many years.  

 

But being visible also means being spat at in the gents toilets and making women feel uncomfortable in the ladies toilets. Being visible means being called “she” or “lady” or “madam” and feeling nauseous at the sound of it. Being visible means tirelessly having to change all records and until then, having to stare at an ID card that doesn’t align with who I am. Being visible means being called the ‘T’ slur online. Being visible means constantly having to explain my identity to people who “just don’t get it”. Being visible is seeing another news headline of a member of your community being killed in a transphobic attack.  

 

I’m crying out for more positive visibility. I don’t want to live in fear or have to worry about how I am perceived and if that will put me in danger. Trans people are tired of fighting the battle to exist freely. We need our allies to stand with us.  

 

So, here’s what you can do today and thereafter:  

  1. Read a book or article, listen to a podcast or attend a training session about gender identity  

  1. Advocate for your work colleagues who are trans. Challenge workplace discrimination and fight for gender inclusive spaces (gender neutral toilets, respectful language, and equal pay) 

  1. Take time to reflect on your own perception of gender. What are your privileges? What unconscious biases do you have?  

  1. Donate money or time to trans people in need. This can include volunteering at a LGBT+ charity or giving what you can to GoFundMe pages 

 

While I write this with the intention to educate our cisgender allies, I do want to take a moment to send love to my trans brothers, sisters, and siblings. Thank you to the likes of Marsha P. Johnson, who has paved the way for my freedom and a little closer to home, my trans friends who inspire me every day. You have and always will be visible to me.  

 

Glossary 

Marsha P. Johnson: A transgender woman who participated in the Stonewall Uprising and fought for equal rights. There is a beautiful song written about her called ‘Marsha’ by Sammy Copley (a trans man), which I recommend you listen to. 


Testosterone: A type of HRT taken by some trans men (and those of other gender identities) to appear more masculine.  


Transgender: A transgender person is someone whose gender identity differs from that typically associated with sex they were assigned at birth.  


Trans Man: A person who was registered as female at birth but who lives and identifies as a man.  

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