A thing hit me at Pride the other weekend – how many transgender people were present. And this is just one Pride of many in the UK. Online I see UK groups expanding every day, with so many questions and people giving each other advice. But of course you don’t “see” trans in day to day life, such as knowing if the person in front of you at the bus stop is transgender or not. I genuinely don’t think that the general public realise that they are going about their day to day lives interacting with transgender people. Opinions on trans-stuff are still formed mainly by views expressed in mainstream media – which often is poorly researched and full of inaccuracies. Pride is one of the only events were people can go “oh shit wow, never knew there were so many transgender people!”, and see a range of people from all backgrounds.
Considering the size of our community here in the UK now, I was surprised when I searched that the only national group meet we have is a relatively small one, the “Annual Brighton Trans, non-binary and Intersex Conference” (A bit of a mouthful), with has just had it’s 3rd year and is hardly advertised at all. Looking over the pond there is the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference attended by over 7,000 over 3 days now in its 17th year. Granted, we are a smaller country than America, but it still feels like we are far behind.
I’ve been transitioning for about 3 years now (I have forgotten exactly) and the more I go down this path the more I feel connected to the trans community, it’s like I can’t not be. Whether I’m active in it or not, I always find myself from time to time seeking answers to trans related questions, even if it’s just scrolling through discussion groups or blogs. Even when there are no “immediate” changes going on (e.g. top surgery) other stuff pops up about navigating the world as a transgender person, from bathrooms to security to dating to health to family and friendship. All this kind of stuff + tonnes more would be great things to have live discussions about with trans people from all across the country, with enough present to maybe create spin off advocacy groups and keep momentum going throughout the year. It would also make it so the public get used to seeing transgender topics presented with all the facts, discussing them and perhaps ditching a few prejudices about the community.
Maybe i’m wrong, maybe there is not enough people to make it happen, but if that is the case surely there will be soon – and what we do have we need to advertise more, so people actually know these events exist, I would like to attend! And if you do know of any in the UK, please leave a comment!