Robbie (they/them), Allyship Coordinator for Amnesty International Australia, celebrates their personal experience on Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual event on March 31 dedicated to raising awareness of transgender and gender diverse people all around the world.
I came out to myself as trans only a few weeks after Transgender Day of Visibility in 2018. Growing up, the only LGBTQIA+ people I knew were Graham Norton and Ellen DeGeneres, and the only trans people were unnamed characters who were the butt of the joke in the 90s sitcoms I watched with my family.
It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I even heard the word non-binary, or met my first trans friend. I didn’t learn about trans history, see trans people on my screen or read about trans characters until after I realised I myself was trans and not because trans people don’t exist, but simply because in the stories I was shown our experiences were not told. I always wonder how much my life would have changed if I had grown up with people to follow, to tell me my experiences were ok, and to show me all the things I could be as an adult.
Four years later, Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) continues to be a day when I can truly express my unending gratitude for the trans people in my life. It is a chance to celebrate and feel pride in my identity. It’s a chance to give thanks to the trans people around me and to acknowledge the many, many people who have come before me and walked a much harder path than my own. TDOV is my chance to connect to a community that has raised me, fed me (literally), allowed me to grow, caught me when I fell and dusted the dirt off my shoulders. I have never before felt the love that I feel from the trans community, and that’s why, for me, TDOV is a day to acknowledge what I owe (what we all owe) to the trans people around us.
This TDOV I am celebrating the trans people who have given me strength to go on, who have continued to light the way, and who have simply just existed in places where they’ve been told they shouldn’t.
I’m celebrating my trans friends, my chosen family, the writers, podcasters, makers, actors, historians, YouTubers, celebrities, drag kings and queens and every single trans person who continues to change the world everyday.
For many trans people visibility isn’t a choice, a privilege or a celebration – there is so often a cost that comes with our visibility. When we celebrate trans visibility, we also celebrate the people for whom visibility isn’t a choice or option, the people whose visibility isn’t recognised, the trans people for whom visibility isn’t a celebration, and those who remain invisible, unsafe or unheard.
Every trans person has their own experience. Multiple visibilities are even more important than ever.
So without further ado, below is a short list of some of the trans people to read, listen to, watch, and follow on this TDOV!
Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon deconstructs the gender binary and asks us to reimagine what gender looks like beyond “just two stars in the galaxy”. Alok is a writer, performer and public speaker who advocates for transgender and gender diverse rights.
Finding Nevo by Nevo Zisin is a coming of age autobiography written by activist, student, writer and public speaker Nevo Zisin. Finding Nevo explores gender, identity, and discovering who you are, and gives us an important insight into what it means to question, learn and grow in gender.
A Natural History Of Transition by Callum Angus is a collection of short stories exploring the neverending evolution of transition and transness. From a man who gives birth to a cocoon, to a religious sect who transition every Winter, to a person who becomes a mountain – Callum combines magic, transness, relationships, bugs and the natural world to explore what transition means.
Trans 101 – The Basics
This incredible resource by Minus18 was created by youth at Minus18 and Ygender as they dive into gender identity, language, expression and more! It’s an incredible resource to understand more about trans experiences, and how you can be a better ally to the trans people in your life.
You Can’t Ask That – Transgender
ABC show You Can’t Ask That uses questions sourced from the public to breakdown stereotypes and answer questions about minority groups in Australia. You Can’t Ask That allows you to learn more about what it means to be transgender while answering the questions you might not know how to ask.
QueerStories is a national LGBTQIA+ storytelling project created by theatre-maker Maeve Marsden. QueerStories celebrates LGBTQIA+ experiences and the fierce, funny, heartbreaking and vulnerable stories that come out of them. A book, podcast and series of events, you can find QueerStories on Spotify to listen to episodes featuring emerging and professional trans talent as they tell their stories.
The Gender Reveal
The Gender Reveal is a podcast created by Tuck Woodstock exploring the vast diversity of trans experiences through interviews with a wide array of trans, nonbinary and two-spirit people. Released every Monday the show is an amazing resource for allies and trans people alike.
Schuyler Bailar was the first openly transgender Division 1 NCAA swimmer. He is an outspoken advocate for transgender athletes and fights for cultural inclusion for LGBTQIA+ and Asian American athletes.
Jackie Turner is an organiser and campaigner who is passionate about trans inclusion in the workplace and in people-powered movements.
Naavikaran is a producer, poet, choreographer, LGBTQIA+ advocate and educator. You can listen to her story on QueerStories, follow her on social media, support her work on Ko-Fi or by attending events she runs in Brisbane.
Darcy Vescio is an Aussie rules footballer playing for the Carlton Football Club.
Minus18 is an LGBTQIA+ youth organisation focused on leading change, building social inclusion, and advocating for an Australia where all young people are safe, empowered, and surrounded by people that support them. They provide education and resources for LGBTQIA+ youth and allies.
ACON’s TransHub is a resource hub full of information on trans rights, allyship and education. If you’re new to trans allyship or a trans person looking for resources TransHub is a great place to start off your search.
In recent months, we have seen an increase in organised and coordinated divisive political and media discourse around the rights of the trans and gender diverse community.
There is no debate. Trans rights are human rights. Simple as that.
We will keep fighting for a world where all trans and gender non-conforming people can live with access to healthcare, safety and freedom.
Solidarity, love and thanks to the trans community, today and always.