‘Discrimination is still common’: Why the Transgender Day of Visibility is vital


australian transgender support association atsaq gina mather krissy johnson
Photo: ATSAQ

The International Transgender Day of Visibility, recognised this Sunday (March 31), is a chance to celebrate transgender people in our community and raise awareness of the discrimination they face in everyday life worldwide, writes Destiny Rogers.

Human civilisation is littered with absolutes.

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The Earth is flat. Marrying your cousin is a good idea. Smoking is healthy for your throat. Pluto is a planet. Salad forks must be placed exactly one inch to the left of dinner plates. God made man and woman and that’s the end of the matter.

Transgender people have existed throughout history. From the transgender priests of The Great Mother of early civilisation to the transgender followers of the Goddess Cybele in the classical world, the Two Spirits people of North America and Samoa’s Fa’afafine, transgender people have been present on every continent and in every civilisation.

They have been celebrated and they have been castigated.

History often offers very little real insight to how people lived, because anything future generation disprove of, they censor. They burn libraries, smash monuments turn sinners into saints and vice-versa.

But enough records survive to show that gender variation, gender fluidity and transgenderism have existed for time immemorial.

Of course, transgender people are confusing. They don’t neatly fit a single stereotype. They are all different. In reality, that’s down to a single simple fact.

Transgender people are people. People, my friends, are confusing beasts.

International Transgender Day of Visibility is a day to celebrate transgender people and raise awareness of the discrimination, prejudice and violence they suffer world-wide.

For many transgender people nothing much has changed since Clement of Alexandria wrote in the second century of the common era that transgender people “must be driven as far as possible from our society.”

ITDOV reminds us that transgender people just want to be seen as themselves, like any other human on this planet.

Surely, we have grown enough as an animal to understand that people are all different. The difference is glorious. The diversity is worth embracing and celebrating.

‘Visibility is crucial’

The Australian Transgender Support Association of QLD (ATSAQ) has been helping, advising and assisting the transgender community in Queensland since 1990.

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Gina Mather and Kristine Johnson of ATSAQ (pictured) have been at the forefront of the fight to address legal recognition and human rights for transgender people for 30 years now.

“Visibility is crucial,” said Gina, “misunderstanding and discrimination is still sometimes a common experience for transgender people in Australian society.

Transgender flag colours brisbane story bridge

“Only by being visible and demonstrating our rightful place in the community can we dispel the myths and help society understand the disadvantage transgender people face.”

“Education is the key,” said Kristine, “and the best way to educate people is to give them exposure to transgender people.”

For information, support and assistance check out the ATSAQ website or find them on Facebook here.

TDOV community BBQ this weekend

In Brisbane, the Queensland Transgender Network is holding a family-friendly BBQ event in New Farm Park from 11am to 3pm on Sunday.

The event will be held at the shaded BBQ area in New Farm Park, closest to the Brunswick Street entrance of the park. Children, family, friends and allies are all welcome to attend.

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