This week is Trans Awareness Week, which runs each year from 13 to 19 November. It’s a time for raising awareness and learning from transgender, gender diverse and nonbinary people about their unique experiences, the issues they face and how others can be more active allies.
This week leads up to Trans Day of Remembrance on 20 November, remembering those whose lives were lost to transphobia and discrimination. From those who were out and proud to those who lived quietly, we grieve and honour them all.
We can all play a role in helping the world become a better and safer place for trans young people, so they can thrive now and as they continue to grow older. We need to listen to trans voices, help amplify them, and keep fighting against transphobia. Here are four things that you should know about to help make that happen.
1. Hold the government accountable for commitments to trans and gender diverse young people
The government has a responsibility to ensure that trans and gender diverse young people are given adequate support, and we need to make sure they follow through with their promises.
Unfortunately, they continue to face threats to their human rights through discriminatory legislation such as when the Religious Freedom Bill 2019 was introduced to Parliament (though it did not pass into legislation), or during the 2022 Federal Election campaign when trans and gender-diverse young people were targeted for political gain.
On the other hand, there have been some good things that government have done too. For example, the Victorian Government’s new Youth Strategy 2022-2027, Our Promise, Your Future, identifies the importance of ensuring trans and gender-diverse young people feel safe and supported in their communities.
Similarly, the Victorian Government’s Pride in Our Future 2022-2032 ten year LGBTIQA+ Communities Strategies has a commitment to improving LGBTIQA+ social connection for young people, as well as improving mental health services and safety.
We need to continue to advocate against discrimination and keep holding the government to account to their commitments.
2. Check out resources developed and led by trans and gender diverse people to educate yourself
Whether you’re a trans young person looking for role models, or an ally who wants to how to best focus your efforts, we can all learn from trans people’s leadership. There are many great resources online for allies, loved ones and health providers, which cover a range of topics across many social, medical, and legal aspects specific to trans people. There is also information for those who are looking to learn more and know what tools are accessible for everyone.
- Transcend Australia - a national peer support network and community
- Transhub - NSW based digital information and resource platform
- Pronoun Rounds - YACVic blog post on how to educate yourself and avoid misgendering someone
- Experiences of advocacy - Mac shares his lived experience of advocacy, and the intersections of being disabled and trans
3. Listen to stories of trans experiences, as told by trans people.
Hearing first hand from trans and gender diverse people is the best way to learn more about their lives, what they have gone through and how they have gotten to where they are today. These stories and experiences can be found in books, documentaries, music, games and more. Here are some of our recommendations:
- The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone (trailer here) - This 29-minute documentary reveals the memories of Georgie Stone, an Australian transgender teen as she helps change laws, affirms her gender, finds her voice and emerges into adulthood. There is also an accompanying conversation pack that can be used to guide discussion, share your learnings with others and deepening your understanding. The documentary can be streamed now on Netflix.
- Masked (watch here) and Still Me (watch here) – Masked is a short film made in Melbourne that follows the story of high schooler Zach, struggling to come out as a trans man. This was created in conjunction with the 15-18 year old’s from the Knox ‘Free To Be Me’ LGBTQIA+ Youth group. Following its success, they made a second film: Still Me, follows the story of a non-binary teenager (Bailey) who is navigating how to come out at school and what it means for their social life. The project is proudly supported & funded by Knox City Council, YACVic & the Victorian State Government. You can watch this on YouTube - find Masked here, and Still Me here.
Support some Australian trans and gender diverse artists and stream their incredible music
- ‘Act of God’ by Alter Boy
- ‘Peaches and Scream’ by Imbi (featuring Genesis Owusu)
- ‘NATIVE TONGUE’ by No’Ju (featuring The Pasefika Vitoria Choir)
- ‘Nothing to Hide: Voices of trans and gender diverse Australia’ by Yves Rees, Sam Elkin, Alex Gallagher and Bobuq Sayed - This book digs into the challenges and joys of trans experiences, featuring work from thirty trans and gender-diverse people. It is an important, insightful read, especially as it is also Australia's first mainstream collection of trans and gender-diverse writing. Find it on Booktopia and Dymocks.
- ‘As Beautiful As Any Other: A memoir of my body’ byKaya Wilson – In this powerful and lyrical memoir, Wilson discusses the forces that have shaped his life and his body, dealing with ideas of vulnerability and power, grief and trauma, science and narrative.
- ‘Euphoria Kids’ by Alison Evans - Featuring witches, dryads and other magical beings, this book shows positive trans and queer identities, diverse families, and loving, supportive parents. Readers who like stories of magic and magical realism will also enjoy this heart-warming story of friendship and overcoming your fears.
- ‘Future Feeling’ by Joss Lake – This fantasy, science fiction thriller presents an alternate future in which advanced technology still can't replace human connection but may give the trans community new ways to care for its own.
- ‘Snapdragon’ by Kat Leyh – Another fantasy book but this time, with a graphic novel twist! It features a major trans character and big queer storyline, on their journey to finding missing animals, developing an appreciation for magic and new friendships along the way.
- ‘Celeste’ on Steam – This single player game contains hundreds of hand-crafted challenges where you can help Madeline uncover devious secrets, and piece together the mystery of Celeste Mountain. You can download the game here.
There are trans people making things in your favourite formats and genre, creating products you like, leading activism in areas you care about, and working in your sector – find them!
4. Diversify your feed and listen to trans and gender diverse young people.
An easy, yet effective way to consciously consume a more diverse range of media is by following more trans and gender diverse influencers. There are so many great creators online who post anything from informative, educational content, to personal experiences in their day to day lives, to more comedic, relatable styles of videos. Here’s some cool Australian trans creators to follow:
- AJ Clementine
- Grace Hyland
- Cody McConnell
- Georgie Stone
- Nevo Zisin
- Hayden Moon
- Belle Bambi
Awareness is important, but it does not guarantee safety. We owe trans young people so much more than this – celebration, wellbeing, joy, safety, opportunities, and the right to own their own stories.
This time is a reminder to not wait until it is too late, and uplift and fight for all trans people while they are alive. We spend Trans Awareness Week celebrating and advocating for trans people in the hope of reducing the tragic number of lives lost that we grieve each year on Trans Day of Remembrance.