Each year we conclude Transgender Awareness Week with a day of great significance, Transgender Day of Remembrance. A day to honour those in the transgender and gender diverse community who have lost their lives due to acts of transphobic violence. Vigils are held across the world where community members and activists display or read a list of lives lost around the world over the past 12 months. This annual event is significant to the transgender community as it draws attention to the continued discrimination faced by its members and provides perspective to those who do not have lived experience of being transgender.
To mark this event, a member of SHINE SA’s Gender Connect team shares their coming out journey.
On 20 November 2018, I came to the realization that I no longer had to continue to “front” about who I was, and it was time to publicly come out. It was also International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Nearly three years later, I look back and remember all the things that have happened since that time has passed. I’ve discovered a career in Peer Work, where I have been able to support others like myself, I’ve made legitimate friends who care about my wellbeing and I’ve found love. I’ve made some inroads.
I’m not going to pretend that my life is easier now compared to back then though, because it isn’t. It’s just different. I have new problems. The way society sees me as an individual is different than before, and I find that I must take refuge in appearing more ‘inconspicuous’ than I would like to these days. Despite this, I consider myself very lucky because there are many others who have had to face a stormfront of bigotry, violence and hate and the waves have not been as kind to them.
I remember back then when I first made that fateful Facebook post that the best way I could remember and honor the people who we have lost in the past was by trying to live as authentically as I can. I now actively support the community by providing peer support and creating safe spaces both individually and within community groups… it all helps at the end of the day.
I may not be as vocal as some of the advocates from our community, nor may I be as knowledgeable as some of our elders, but I’m confident enough to say that I’ve found my space in “all this” and very thankful that I’ve been able to find such a space. A space not everyone has the privilege of finding, and I remember those who died before getting that chance themselves.
We encourage people to read Minus18’s list on how to be a trans ally and consider how you and your communities can celebrate trans and gender diverse people.
Where to find support?
SHINE SA offers a Gender Wellbeing Service which is a free peer-based service for those who identify or support someone that is trans, gender diverse or gender questioning in the Metropolitan Adelaide area. For those who live or work in rural or regional SA please visit this service via Gender Connect Country SA.
SHINE SA also provides education opportunities, useful links and resources for individuals and organisations that want to encourage and support diversity. Visit SHINE SA’s Sexual & Gender Diversity page for more information.
Local group TransMascSA has also created a few helpful fact sheets that can help encourage safer conversation skills around trans identities and experiences as well as language guides and other resources. You can read it on the Trans Health SA page here.