Transgender Awareness Month serves to honor, celebrate, and advocate on behalf of our transgender community. Each year on November 20th, members of the LGBTQIA+ community pause to reflect on the many issues facing transgender individuals across the globe, especially those who face physical and emotional threats from their local communities, governments, and even their own families.
What is Transgender Awareness Month?
November is Transgender Awareness Month, a time to honor, celebrate, and advocate for our transgender and gender-diverse community. Trans is an umbrella term that includes people whose gender identity or expression doesn't match what society typically considers male or female. The T in LGBTQIA stands for transgender. Some transgender people choose to transition from one gender category to another or multiple; some prefer not to label their gender at all. Transgender people are diverse and so are the experiences they have. What unites them is the need to live freely as themselves without fear of discrimination, violence, or ridicule. It's important to know that being transgender isn't something someone can catch like a cold - it's who someone knows themselves to be. Transgender people also face many obstacles regarding healthcare coverage and mental health care as well as difficulty with everyday tasks such as voting, finding employment, securing housing, or accessing public restrooms.
Why is it important?
Transgender Awareness month is important because it honors trans people who have been murdered. It is a time of celebrating the trans community that still survives. It is a time to advocate for the rights of trans people. It's also a chance to raise awareness about the discrimination they face. The ultimate goal of this month is to create safer spaces for transgender people in their day-to-day lives. Most importantly, remember that we are all humans deserving of dignity and respect no matter what gender we identify with. We need to look at each person as an individual and not judge them by their outward appearance. Let’s stop judging trans people based on what kind of clothes they wear or how feminine or masculine they appear.
What can you do to support the transgender community?
Make a donation to an LGBTQIA+ nonprofit. Wear a pride flag or show your support on social media with the hashtag #TransAwareness. Educate yourself about what it means to be transgender. Interact with trans people respectfully. Don’t make assumptions about someone’s gender identity just by looking at them. If you're unsure of how to use a pronoun, ask. Remember that not all trans people want to talk about their gender identity. You may be surprised by how many aspects of being transgender you don't know anything about! If you have questions, ask in a respectful way and be open-minded when you hear their responses. When talking to someone who is transgender, here are some things you can do:
-Don’t assume things about their life based on gender.
-Never disclose information they have told you in confidence unless they give explicit permission.
-Respect their pronouns (if they tell you which ones).
-Ask for clarification if there is something that confuses you about what they said.
-If you don't know someone's pronouns, refer to the person using they/them pronouns so as not to make them uncomfortable by drawing attention to their body parts (i.e., They work as a mechanic)
Remembering those we've lost
We lost our sister, our brother, and our siblings. We lost the cousin we never met but always felt like we knew. We lost the friend whose smile made us feel better about ourselves. And we’ve lost so many more. For Transgender Awareness Month this year, let’s remember those who have been silenced by transphobia—and let’s work together for a world in which all of us can live with dignity and safety. Let's make every day Trans Day! If you see or hear something that contributes to transmisogyny (like offensive or derogatory language), speak up and speak out against it. If you see an act of violence against someone who is transgender or gender-nonconforming, intervene if you can safely do so; if not, call appropriate emergency services. If you experience discrimination at your job because of your gender identity or expression, file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (eeoc.gov). Take action now - tell people why they should care - because when all of us are safe and affirmed, none of us will be invisible again.
Honoring the transgender community
On November 20th LGBTQIA+ people everywhere pause to remember and mourn the lives we’ve lost to transphobic violence. To honor those who have been killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice in the last year—and all of those who have been killed since the first recorded transphobic murder in 1998—we take a moment of silence.
We then speak their names aloud as we raise candles in remembrance. We hold each other tight as we grieve their deaths together. Lastly, it's important to find ways to memorialize these individuals outside of this day so that others may learn about them.
If you cannot attend an event you may honor those who were killed this year due to anti-transgender hate or prejudice by collecting them in the comments of this article. ⬇️⬇️⬇️