Trans Pride and visibility for the TNBI community worldwide
With Trans Pride events happening around the world this summer, FACIALTEAM has highlighted people like Charlie Martin, LGBTI+ activist and racecar pilot, who have each provided inspiration by sharing their journeys of gender affirmation, coming out and transitioning publicly. These women have become ambassadors for a minority community which struggles even today for social acceptance. Their stories help to normalise the realities of the often misunderstood trans, non-binary and intersex communities. Unfortunately, it is not enough.
As India Willoughby, British broadcaster, comments here, TNBI citizens need many more allies in order to spread the word deeper and faster, both within and beyond the GLBTI+ initials. FACIALTEAM has always taken strides to support the trans community year-round, not just during pride. Each year, our compromise to our patients grows, with renewed sponsorships in the UK, Scandinavia, Spain and the USA like Keystone, PTWC in July and a new scholarship for the inaugural New York Coming Out in the autumn. We encourage other business to follow suit, and are pleased to bring on actions by providers like Yeson Voice Center to come on board to offer their own forms of support in the past for celebrations like Sparkle and our free educational events in Australia. This too, however, is not enough.
Our home page features a series of our patients, such as athletes Ella Licari and Tifanny Abreu, as “extraordinary people.” However, the core message is that we are all somehow extraordinary. Hence trans people of course are too.
Humans, after all, share life in common: against all odds, we strive for goals and overcome some barriers along the way. Certain patients in transition do have it easier than others on the journey to “be yourself,” such as a racial privilege or financial affluence. It seems simple but unfortunately “being yourself” is a big mountain to climb for a person who lives in constant fear of discrimination, hate-crime, or extreme social rejection.
Embarking on a gender transition as an adult is in essence a catch-22. Access to vital transgender treatment is often prohibitive–such as hormones, voice therapy, psychological support, hair removal, gender-affirming surgery and everything else associated with a gender transition. Without financial resources AND valuable moral support, it is inevitable that patients are forced to out themselves in dangerous circumstances.
Most gender non-conforming people in the world have no government subsidized healthcare attention in the world, meaning standardized care is only accessible to those with sufficient economic resources who are able to travel. Fortunately, the public healthcare systems of many European countries do provide limited specialised attention for issues of gender identity. Sadly though, as Charlie Martin points out, the situation is currently critical: “Trans patients are currently being forced to wait 2-3 years in the UK for an initial appointment with a GIC [Gender Identity Clinic] and trans related hate crimes have escalated by 81% in the last 12 months.”
Unable to continue suppressing their true gender identity for years on end, they have no choice but to expose themselves to the dangers of violence and bullying. This situation is further aggravated by the fact that they are often unprotected by government laws. Clearly, this is one reason the trans minority suffers such an alarming rate of suicide. FACIALTEAM’s charity actions in Spain have helped transwomen in demonstrated high-risk circumstances have hope. Undoubtedly, this is still is not enough.
Experience has taught us that Trans Pride is important everyday, not just during the summer celebrations.
Support trans pride, but first learn to be a good trans-ally
Being an ally is really as easy as listening without judgement. Give your trans citizens a space to be heard, where they are not rejected. Speak up in defense of a colleague being criticised for their gender identity. Surely, just checking in on your TNBI friend today (or anytime) and show your support for their healthcare needs would be enormously appreciated. For that one person, it may be enough for that moment. Help them feel included. It matters, and in the long term, it is making a difference.
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