Transgender Awareness Week offers an opportunity to consider the needs and rights of transgender people who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. A part of the LGBTQ+ movement, this event seeks to raise awareness, build compassion and make the world a better place for every individual!
History of Transgender Awareness Week
Each year, during these seven days leading up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), this time is set aside as Transgender Awareness Week. The first observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance took place on November 20, 1999 as a commemoration of those who had been victims of hate crimes related to anti-transgender and transphobic biases.
Transgender Awareness Week is supported by a number of different groups and organizations to help pave the way for new thinking around the concept of gender identity. GLAAD (formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), and the Human Rights Campaign are just a couple of the many different institutions, organizations, agencies and more who are helping to support and raise awareness about the rights and needs of transgender and non-conforming people.
The celebrations surrounding Transgender Awareness Week typically include various parties and gatherings, including online events, that are hosted by individuals and groups all over the nation. The purpose of the week is to improve education about the issues surrounding transgender and gender non-conforming people.
How to Celebrate Transgender Awareness Week
Take a look at some of these options to observe Transgender Awareness Week, and also consider some others ways it might be possible to provide support for those who live with challenges related to their gender identity:
Treat People with Dignity and Kindness
No matter how a person lives or identifies, all human beings have inherent value that deserves to be respected and treated well. One of the most important parts of Transgender Awareness Week is raising the standard for how all people are treated – with equal rights, access and privileges. During this week, consider some of the issues that are faced by transgender people, including harassment, discrimination and hate crimes, then speak out against it in private conversations or within the larger community.
Take Care with Pronouns
One simple way to offer people respect during Transgender Awareness Week and always, might be to clarify which pronouns they prefer to use and remember to implement those. For those that are unclear, pronouns can often be found on social media profiles. If it’s a person you’ve just met in real life, be attentive to how they refer to themselves and then follow their lead. Or, if it’s a close friend who is in transition and you aren’t sure what they want, be respectful and honor them by asking.
Support Nondiscrimination Legislation
While people might treat an individual with respect in person, many folks aren’t aware of anti-trans legislation that continues to take place in the United States. Transgender Awareness Week might just be the right time to get involved in learning more about nondiscrimination legislation, both federally and within individual states, to help all people of any gender identity to retain their civil rights.
These types of discrimination issues may include bills related to schools and education, healthcare, free speech and expression, or other topics. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) could be a good place to start learning about initiatives, getting involved or casting a vote.