Today is Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV), a day where trans people are meant to be celebrated and have their contributions recognized.
For TDOV, I want to challenge non-profit and business leaders, community organizers, entrepreneurs, speakers, activists, and all of us, to reconsider the way that we highlight or celebrate trans people.
A lot of us make efforts to include trans voices and experiences, but we often do so in a way that only recognizes their contributions related to transness. While it’s obviously important to hear from trans people about what it’s like to be trans, I would argue it’s more important to recognize trans people as having expertise in other areas.
There are incredible trans scientists, trans musicians and artists, trans politicians, trans water protectors, trans educators, and so many more, yet when trans people are often recognized for contributions, they’re seen only as people who have contributed to trans communities, instead of being seen as people who’ve contributed larger society.
As a trans and non-binary organizer and activist, I’m often invited onto panels, into speaker series’ or as part of a conference, but too often, people ask me to speak to my transness, instead of the wide range of topics and experience I have. I am a proud trans and non-binary person, and I make a point of identifying myself as such in most spaces, because I think visibility is important. But the opportunities that I thrive in are the moments where I’m asked to share my expertise on other topics… I love talking about governance, grant-writing, graphic design, popular culture, and so much more.
So, the next time you’re planning a panel about the state of agriculture in Saskatchewan, or putting together a list of accomplished authors in Western Canada, or identifying an expert to speak about craft brewing, or looking for a classroom speaker for your computer science class, consider asking yourself if there are trans people you can highlight.
Let us show every industry, every sector, every space, that trans people are an important part of every community.