The Importance of Being Seen: Trans Day of Visibility & Pink Shirt Day

 

When I was a kid, we were taught that not seeing differences, or being “colour-blind” was the right way to be “tolerant” and “accepting” of diversity. We hear echoes of this sentiment when we hear “They can do whatever they want behind closed doors, but why do they have to flaunt it in our faces?”

March 31 was Trans Day of Visibility and April 10 was International Day of Pink. Both observances attest to the importance of being seen as an integral dimension of human rights and inclusion. People who can only be their authentic selves behind closed doors can’t hold their same-sex partner’s hand during the anatomy ultrasound, or tell their care team that they want to be called “Papa” after they give birth. People who are forced to hide their identity behind closed doors are at risk of getting beaten up in bathrooms and dying by suicide behind closed doors. Trans people need to be seen so that kids like Nex Bennedict can go to school safely. Behind closed doors is exactly where abuse and violence hide.

Having safety to be seen means being able to fully participate in society. It boils down to countless everyday things that people take for granted when their identities are not contested. Being able to use public washrooms without risking confrontation or violence. Accessing information on reproductive health that normalizes your body and healthcare experiences. Not being asked to explain where your partner is at prenatal appointments when they are in the exam room with you. Being able to find pregnancy attire that aligns with your usual style.

Trans and queer people need to call for visibility and wear pink to get noticed so that we can lead normal lives.

As birth workers, here are some things we can do to help queer and trans folks feel seen in the reproductive and perinatal wellness sphere:

  • State explicitly in your promotional materials that you welcome and affirm queer and trans people
  • Use gender-neutral language in your promotional materials and handouts
  • Have open conversations with clients about their preferred pronouns and terms for their parenting roles and body parts.
  • Become familiar with resources in your community that support queer and trans families so you can make great referrals.
  • Educate yourself on health inequities faced by queer and trans birthers
  • Challenge queer and transphobia in yourself and others

You can find out more about Trans VisibilityVisibilty Day here

You can find out more about International Day of Pink here

 

Keira Grant (she/her) Inclusion and Engagement Lead – Racialized Communities

Keira brings a wealth of experience to the Online Community Moderator role. She is a Queer, Black woman with a twenty-year track record in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) education, projects, and community building initiatives.

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