This week is Transgender Awareness Week. In the lead up to Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, people and organizations around the country participate to help raise the visibility of transgender people and address issues members of the community face.
Transgender Awareness Week is a time for the community to act and celebrate. This includes education around who transgender people are, sharing stories and experiences, and advancing advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the transgender community.
At Wayside, we celebrate and support all transgender and gender diverse people. We are committed to diversity, inclusion and belonging for all.
This includes striving to create a safe and inclusive workplace. Knowledge is power and education is key. If a question is asked respectfully and with kindness, we can all learn together.
We asked our teammate Cass Leon what Transgender Awareness meant to her and this is what she had to say:
“The discussion around trans people is one often built on fear and ignorance. Trans people simply want to live their lives free form hate and violence like everyone else. Whether it’s immigrants or members of certain religions or whatever comes next, there’s always an “other” that we are told to fear, who are different from us in some important way that means they should be shunned and feared.
Sadly it’s trans folks turn in that spotlight, to be vilified and lied about, to be denied care and safety. In my mind, Transgender Week of Awareness should reject that as much as possible. It’s a celebration and a time for love in the face of hate. Being trans is a joy, a chance to be yourself and live something true.
I can’t explain how happy I am to be me, to hear my name, to see my face in the mirror. All I want is to live free and happy, the same as everyone else, with access to safety, medical care, and maxibons.”
Here are some basics (both terminology and concepts) to help you begin to have conversations:
Transgender is an adjective used to describe people who have a gender identity that differs from their assigned sex at birth.
Transgender is often shortened to trans.
“A Transgender Man”
“A Trans Woman”
“A person who is transgender”
“A transgender visitor”
“A cisgender person” – A person who is not transgender. Often shortened to cis.
“A transgender, A tranny”
“She is a transgender”
“Rules for transgenders”
“Crossdressing/Drag” – This is a different community.
Transgender is present tense. Say “Transgender” not “Transgendered”
May but does not have to include gender affirming surgery. Do not overemphasise surgery when talking about transition.
“Got the surgery”
Transgender people do not owe you an explanation about their identity.
However, it is considered polite to ask someone “what are your pronouns” if you are unsure. If you make a mistake or mis-speak, correct yourself and move on.
If you have questions:
- Do your own research before asking
- Consider why you really need to know (especially if it is a personal question)
- Respect an individual’s privacy
Some additional resources
Next issue of Sideway Stories will focus more in depth on Pronouns, how to use them and how when they are used correctly in written communications, they can show allyship and support.
Recently, Wayside re-convened our LGBTQIA+ Employee Network / Working group. We meet fortnightly on Monday afternoons in Kings Cross.
Our group provides a space for LGBTQIA+ employees to support each other, express concerns they may have, and spend time around people who understand their experiences.
We have just started planning an exciting calendar of events, including how Wayside might be involved in Mardi Gras/World Pride 2023.
If you have an interest in joining, or would like to engage the group for Queer perspectives and advice, please reach out to Tom: [email protected]