TRANS DAY OF VISIBILITY 2021
Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility. Begining in 2009 the event takes place on March 31st each year to celebrate and honour Trans and non-binary people and also raise awareness of the challenges and discrimination faced by trans people worldwide. The event was founded by US-based transgender activist Rachel Crandall as a reaction to the lack of LGBT recognistion of transgender people, citing the frustration that the only well-known trans-centred day was the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which mourned the murders of transgender people, but did not acknowledge and celebrate living members of the community.
In the UK, Trans people may have never seemed so visible, but this is sadly a time that we still lack any meaningful representation in the mainstream media or in parliament. Trans healthcare is often treated like a nice thing to do rather than being an important part of our healthcare system, there are very few gender identity clinics in the UK and the current situation is leading to stats such as 18 week waiting lists between referrals being missed by up to 4 years, leading to detrimental effects on mental health, people feeling forced to self-medicate with hormones bought online from unregulated sources and many having to crowd fund for private treatment.
COVID-19 is hitting trans people hard too, being felt most severely by trans people who are homeless, sex workers, disabled, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, poor, and/or elderly, these communities are not only affected by the virus itself, but also by health care systems and providers, as well as by the socioeconomic and political impact of the pandemic. At the same time, we are also seeing some governments directly using the pandemic as an excuse for violating human rights, with signs of a wide range of political and legal rollbacks leading towards more systemic discrimination against Trans people across the world.
On top of the immense pressure on Trans and non-binary people to conform, change and prove their gender to others, we are also in a period of sustained and increasing hostility to Trans people from the media, which has been ramped up especially since the consultation on the reformation of the Gender Recognition Act, in this time hate crime towards Trans people has spiked. This has also sadly crept into the Labour Party too, creating something of a moral panic around the Party’s support for Trans liberation, with Trans exclusionary motions passed at CLPs, gender critical groups leafleting official events, and MPs openly engaging positively with transphobic content on social media, and there has also been one high-profile incident where 2 of an MPs staff resigned citing their employer’s transphobia, most of which has been met by silence from the party leadership.
We have also seen one left wing media outlet publishing articles dismissing supporting trans rights, in one case comparing Labour's stance on Trans rights to "charging white people more to hear Corbyn speak" and to "decrying those displaying the English flag as racist" and even publishing overtly dehumanising and transphobic cartoons, causing a strong reaction by the UK's largest trade union Unison, who said the outlet had sunk "to a new low".
* Some Stats for the UK *
• In the UK, transphobia is continuing to rise, since 2015 reports of transphobic hate crimes have quadrupled.
• According to Galop 1/4 of Trans people have been threatened with or experienced transphobic violence.
• 1/3 UK employers will not employ a trans person.
• More than 1/2 of Trans people have reported that their GP has told them that they don't know enough about Trans-related care to provide it.
• Some Trans people are being forced to wait up to nearly 4 years (193 weeks) to see an NHS specialist – more than 10 times the NHS legal guideline.
• More than 1/2 of Trans people have been diagnosed with depression at some point
• More than 2/5 Trans people have been attacked or threatened with violence in the past 5 years.
• More than 1/2 of Trans adults have attempted suicide with 84% having thought about it.
• And for Trans youths, more than 1/4 of Trans youths have attempted suicide with 89% having thought about it.
• And now trans children now legally have to go to court to get certain medication.
The Labour Party LGBT+ Network recognise that taking a strong stand against all forms of bigotry and oppression is not an optional extra in the class struggle but in fact a core part of it. We also endeavour to reach out to and organise alongside other under-represented communities, standing in solidarity with one another in our struggles, educating against not only the rise of hate and division but the apathy that facilitates it.
So we call upon all who read this article to please watch some of the trans-lead political education videos linked below, join us and use today’s event as a starting point to help educate themselves, their friends, colleagues and encourage allies to voice solidarity with the Trans community and to help empower trans people to celebrate who we are.
Please also follow both Labour Campaign for Trans Rights and Labour Trans Equality on facebook and twitter.
Below are some political education videos that have been made as part of a collaberation with Trans members from the Labour Party LGBT+ Network, The World Transformed, Labour Campaign for Trans Rights and Momentum to create a trans-led programme of political education.
Additionaly if you are a Trans person who wants to get involved, please email us at
How Can We Challenge Transphobia In The Left:
Featuring: Charlie Caine and Nim Ralph
Watch Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lThVlAJw5I
Trans Liberation: What Are Our Demands?:
Featuring: Torr Robinson, Nadia Whittome MP, Sarah Lamble, Joseph Funnel, Finn Grieg, Paul McGowan, Vanessa Nwosu and Iggi Moon
Watch Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1CuvsDqhSw
What Even Is Transphobia?:
Featuring: Shon Faye, Lola Olufemi, Juliet Jacques, Chay Brown and Felix Mufti
Watch Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTt1ELv5lfQ
Solidarity In Times Of COVID:
Featuring: Chantelle Lunt, Felix Mufti, Charlie Caine, Geraldine Achieng and Paul McGowan
Watch Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwu6p9kG_kA
Originally published by the Labour Party LGBT+ Network on 31st March 2021
About the Author:
Paul L. McGowan (They/Them) is co-chair for the Labour Party LGBT+ Network, co-chair of the United We Stand - Solidarity Network, and LGBT+ Officer for Liverpool Walton CLP
Follow Paul on twitter: