Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day to celebrate transgender and gender diverse people around the globe and their experiences and achievements.
This day also invites us to reflect on the resilience of trans and gender diverse people as well as the barriers and violence they face in the workplace, at school and the broader community. Recent events have further highlighted the need for us to step up and support trans and gender diverse people and their rights.
For this year’s International Transgender Day of Visibility, SHINE SA’s Senior Peer Support Worker Brynn has shared her insights into the complexities of visibility, the importance of allyship, compassion and more.
“International Trans Day of Visibility is a day that is meant for joy, validation and promoting the resiliency and tenacity of the trans community at large. It’s also a day that I find very exhausting. Being visible in a meaningful way takes a certain level of effort and hypervigilance that I don’t always have.
I also used to beat myself up quite a bit about it as well. I don’t anymore… but I used to. I would get angry with myself about how I couldn’t make time to support “all the things” or get behind “all of the causes”. A role model should be better than that, I would think. The problem I had, to cut a long story short, was that I didn’t know exactly what role I was trying to be and once I worked that out, I was a lot happier with myself.
I think that the classic gaming triangle of “DPS – Tank – Support” can be applied to a lot of different things, and it works well in terms of social issues. “DPS Players” are very much who one might think of when one thinks “activist”. They are high energy, motivated, and you’ll often see them in the front lines of a protest, handing out a petition or sharing something topical on your feed.
“Tank Players” can differ depending on their background, but they all have a lot of heart, and they will put that heart towards a cause that’s just. It may be a prominent member of the community, or it might be someone who shows great allyship (Allys make great tanks!) They often represent a beacon of what a social cause can represent and show the other two roles forward by leading the way.
“Support Players” show a lot of empathy and are good at making sure others understand issues in their own way. Their great as well in making sure the other two players make it through day after day trough showing love, friendship, and compassion. They may not be at the front lines at every cause, but you can be they’ll be behind you.
I hadn’t realised it at the time, but I was very much a “Support Player” who was trying to be someone like a “Tank” or a “DPS”. I soon learned that I didn’t have the energy to front up in the ways other roles could, and that my energy was better harnessed in making sure others were healed up, so to speak from “battle”. My role isn’t the kind of role that is supposed to be the face of a campaign or anything like that, but it’s just as important, and I’m happy with that.
In coming up with this, I realised that there are a number of ways that we all can be visible, and that we shouldn’t be too hard upon ourselves if we aren’t all being visible and putting ourselves out there the “right way” either. There is power in things like representation, and expression, and celebration, and all these things can do wonders in eliciting social change, something the trans and gender community needs a lot of help with right now. All players regardless of background, have their own way of being the change – what way best suits you?
If this has inspired you to support something but you are unsure as to what – the Drop In Care Space is currently raising funds to help keep the centre open. You can help out with their gofundme at www.gofundme.com/f/keep-drop-in-care-space-open”