Today is International Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day when we recognize the hardships that many trans* people face across the world, and honour those who have died as a result of anti-trans* hate crimes and violence. But how can we help?
Here are some actions you can take to help in the fight for equality. Some of them involve learning about issues affecting the community, while others center on taking action to end the discrimination trans* people face, because it’s only through combating discrimination that we can reduce violent crime, joblessness, and homelessness in the community.
1. Read about and honour those we lost
While trans* rights supporters have made significant gains in some parts of the world, and acceptance continues to climb, the past year saw some horrific violent crimes committed against members of the trans* community, some of which were related to anti-trans* prejudice.
A website that commemorates International Transgender Day of Remembrance was set up to track and highlight the often violent crimes committed against the trans community, and in so doing serves to raise awareness about this problem and promote action to prevent it.
2. Support Trans*-Inclusive school policies
Anti-trans* groups are working hard to oppose trans*-inclusive school policies such as one recently implemented in Vancouver. However, trans*-inclusive policies are necessary to ensure that trans* children are affirmed in their identities (for instance, by using correct pronouns and names) and that they get the best education they can by being given the option to use school amenities that comport with their gender expression and have opportunities, like playing on gendered sports teams that reflect their gender identity.
As existing examples show, these kinds of policies can all be carefully calibrated and monitored to ensure abuse of the system does not take place, so there is no reason not to support this kind of welcoming policy for young people. Vancouver’s updated policy can be found here:
3. Book the BCTF workshop for teachers called, Creating a Gender-Inclusive School Culture
This workshop will help develop an understanding of the risks facing trans* students, as well as the protective factors, will help gain increased familiarity with terminology used by the trans* communities, and increased awareness of gender identity and gender expression. Best practices for supporting a student through gender transition within the school system will be covered. Although the focus is on trans* students, gender inclusive schools help all students to feel safe at school. There are students who are transitioning from K–12 in our public schools around the province. You can also book a free CALL Out workshop for your students.
CALL Out! is a provincial wellness promotion initiative, focused on creating safer, more inclusive communities for LGBT2Q+ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans*, two-spirit, queer) youth across BC. Community capacity building is done through a variety of project activities such as QSA (queer-straight alliance clubs) start-up in secondary schools; workshops for those supporting LGBT2Q+ youth such as parents/caregivers, service providers, educators and faith-based organizations; creating a support network for parents/caregivers of trans* youth; and co-delivering workshops with LGBT2Q+ youth facilitators. CALL Out! is based out of the Transgender Health Information Program, Prism Services & Youth Addiction and Prevention Services at Vancouver Coastal Health and is funded by Health Canada. For more information on how your community can get involved, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (604) 315-3668 or 1-877-515-3668 (toll free in BC). www.vch.ca/callout.
4. Locate and use resources on trans* students on our LGBTQ website.
There are many resources which can be found here to help teachers and students: bctf.ca/SocialJustice.aspx?id=17990.
5. Watch films or youtube videos on this topic
The following are available online or can be taken out from the BCTF library bctf.ca/SocialJustice.aspx?id=21294.
My Prairie Home is a documentary about a trans* person’s personal journey.