Personally Speaking

Posted on 30-03-2016 by Sixth Story

A blog by Alexus Savage

Thursday 31st March sees the yearly event that is Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) come rolling into view. So, what is TDoV, well essentially it is a day to show your support for the Trans community. It aims to bring attention to the accomplishments of Trans people around the globe and to combat ignorance and transphobia by spreading knowledge of what it is to be Trans. The mantra is, that with more visibility there will come more understanding.

Certainly, Trans related stuff seems to be the ‘next big thing, you can’t put the telly on without seeing some programme that has a Trans element to it. From ‘Orange is the New Black’ to ‘Boy meets Girl’ to ‘Transparent’ we’re everywhere!! Most recently, EastEnders is running a storyline (they did have a cross dresser story a few months ago which I thought was quite well done) featuring a trans man played by a trans actor by the name of Riley Carter Millington.

All good stuff although by its very nature representations of trans people in dramas or comedies are slightly removed from real life. Even appearances on the sofa with Phil and Holly, as sympathetically treated as they usually are, can still only be a snapshot of someone’s reality, viewed from afar.

Putting to one side the devils playground that is the internet, the telly (and the main stream media as a whole) remains the main source of news/information for most people. And although the viewers/readers are seeing and reading about us, there is still a yawning chasm of ignorance and discrimination that needs to be crossed. This can be crossed, being visible propels us half way across but only by talking and engaging with people can we complete the journey.

And I don’t necessarily mean that we go droning on about trans this and trans that (which obviously do deserve a mention) but just talk to people. Standing in the queue at Costa, or at the supermarket checkout, anywhere indeed where there are non-Trans folk about, just have a gossip with the person next to you. They may look at you as if you’re demented, striking up a conversation with a stranger, but I often do it and by and large do have some good chats. And some of those people may never knowingly have spoken to a person who is transgender before, may have had negative preconceptions that  just talking to someone may have changed for the good (okay, they may not change at all, some people are beyond help) and that has got to be a good thing. That’s my kind of activism.

So, think about TDoV on 31March and if you feel up to it use it as a springboard to help us all get across that metaphorical Grand Canyon.

Alexus Savage is Trans Sexual Health Worker at Birmingham LGBT