How to Find Your Authentic Voice Online
How to Find Your Authentic Voice Online Change the world, one uncomfortable conversation at a time. This is what I have been telling myself for
While the past few years have been especially challenging for the transgender community, they have also marked huge strides in transgender representation and awareness. Whether it be on television screens, election ballots, or in classrooms, more transgender and gender diverse people are proudly visible than ever before. Visibility and awareness are some of the most powerful tools in challenging transphobia, nurturing diversity, and building community.
Collectively we can work towards increased visibility and awareness, but in doing so it is important to recognize the individualities of the trans journey as the trans community is far more expansive than any single narrative.
A special thank you to Redken Canada, for supporting the creation of our Trans Awareness Week toolkit and video.
Trans identities can fall inside or outside the gender binary, with many non-binary people identifying as transgender. To learn more, read Clover’s piece – “Gender Sandcastles: Conceptualizing Nonbinary and Trans Identities”
During Transgender Awareness Week, every year from November 13th to 19th, Individuals and organizations bring attention to the stories and experiences of transgender people and communities. The week-long celebration leads up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th, an annual observance honoring the lives lost to acts of transphobic violence and systemic oppression. Whether you are celebrating your trans pride or engaging in education and advocacy as an ally, Transgender Awareness week is a time for showing up, speaking up, and supporting one another. The awareness we build spurs the kind of education and change that will make it possible for transgender and gender diverse people to find the support and resources they need.
Storytelling is a powerful mode in which to express and share with one another. We learn about the world through the stories we hear. At It Gets Better Canada Storytelling is integral to our mission to support and uplift 2SLGBTQ+ youth and Trans stories, in particular, provide authentic and expansive representations of lives, loves, and ways of being. Stories like Kendall Genders & Patch Donaghy’s – “A celebration of love”
The stories of transgender people and communities can also bring light to the social and systemic barriers that trans and gender diverse people continue to face. Build awareness and expand our cultural narratives by sharing your own story or amplifying the stories of trans and non-binary people. Start by watching Makayla Walker share her experience as a Black trans activist.
Trans allyship means actively supporting and uplifting transgender people and communities. If you are having trouble knowing where to start or looking to brush up on your skills, check out these tips for advancing your allyship.
Do your research
Don’t rely on your transgender friends, family members, or coworkers to educate you. Use books, blogs, social media, and websites to educate yourself on issues, terminology, and experiences relevant to transgender communities.
Listen to transgender voices
Center the voices of transgender and gender diverse people in your allyship. Transgender people are the experts on their own experiences and each person’s experiences are unique. Remember, one narrative doesn’t fit all.
Understand the intersection of issues
Gender, race, sexuality, disability and other personal characteristics intersect and overlap in ways that affect how people experience the world. Racism, xenophobia, and misogyny compound the issues of gender discrimination faced by trans women and trans people of colour. Recognizing the diversity of transgender people’s experiences ensures that no one is left behind in the fight for justice and equality for trans and gender diverse people. Read Pree’s story of coming into their queerness as a racialized disabled person –“Trusting my queer heart to guide my path”
Normalize sharing pronouns
Introducing yourself with your pronouns helps to create an inclusive environment and challenge the idea that gender identity can be assumed by appearances. Include your pronouns in verbal introductions, social media profiles, bios, name tags, and email signatures.
Be mindful of gendered language
Much of our everyday language is unnecessarily gendered. Avoid using terms and phrases like “ladies and gentlemen” or “boys and girls”, which reinforce the gender binary and exclude non-binary people. Instead try using inclusive terminology like “folks” or “friends”.
Challenge transphobic remarks or jokes
Speak up when you hear transphobic language, remarks and jokes, even when they come from other queer people. Interrupt the behavior and, if you can, educate others on why their words were inappropriate or hurtful. By speaking up you can spread awareness and encourage others to speak up as well
Download images to post on your social channels to spread awareness. Use the hashtags #TransAwarenessWeek and #ItGetsBetterCanada.
Share these graphics on Instagram and Facebook Stories – and don’t forget to tag @ItGetsBetterCanada!
Navigating Gender Dysphoria around Periods + Uterine Health – It Gets Better Canada
I Heart My Chest: A chest health resource for trans folk – Egale Canada
Gender Markers Guide – The Canadian Centre for Gender + Sexual Diversity
Inclusive Language: How to Use it & Why It Matters – It Gets Better Canada
Creating Authentic Spaces Info Sheets: A Gender Identity and Gender Expression Toolkit to Support the Implementation of Institutional and Social Change – The 519
Pronoun Usage Guide – Egale Canada
Trans Wellness Ontario (Windsor-based Trans & Queer Community Health & Support Centre)
LGBT Youthline (Confidential, non-judgemental & informed LGBTTQQ2SI Peer Support)
The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexuality
Qmunity (BC’s Queer, Trans, and Two-Spirit Resource Centre)
The 519 (Toronto-based organization dedicated to LGBTQ advocacy)
Trans Equality Society of Alberta
Makayla Walker (she/her) is a Black transgender woman who thrives in the arts and constantly advocates for the black community. She began her love for advocacy and the arts in the Jane and Finch community where she was raised. It was there that Makayla learned about the importance of using your voice and the power of the performing arts. She then attended theatre school and began her journey in drag. She is now a Toronto drag staple and constant support for queer and trans youth looking for belonging.
Sonny (they/them) is a queer non-binary creative based out of Tkaronto. They are passionate about neurodiversity and social justice. Sonny recently completed a masters degree in gender studies and have been making contributions to queer media discourses.
Valery Marier (she/her) is a trans woman and Canadian graphic designer who strives to create unique visual solutions in both physical and digital design spaces. Her love for beautiful letters and accessible communication is at the forefront of her work and she aims to delight and inspire people with her work
Redken is proud to continue its sponsorship of It Gets Better Canada as part of its philanthropic arm, Hairdressers United: Stand Together Against Bullying, with the mission to educate and uplift the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Redken believes that the salon can be much more than a place to get your hair done – it can and should be a safe space for all 2SLGBTQ+ people across Canada!
It Gets Better Canada is committed to connecting Canada’s 2SLGBTQ+ youth to a better future
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