Transgender Awareness Week 2016

Hi guys! As I am a big supporter of trans rights, I would like to repost a few posts on this blog that deal with transgender issues, in order to promote Transgender Awareness Week this year. I wrote this post last year to celebrate and promote Transgender Awareness Week 2015, and as Transgender Awareness Week is from the 14-20 November this year, I thought I would repost it. I’ll also be reposting this on The Breathing Ghosts Series blog. Hope you all find it inspiring and informative. You can find out more about current events and publicity for TAW here.

Post:

It’s Transgender Awareness Week (TAW) this week people! As you may know, my series of novels deals with LGBT issues and features LGBT characters, and although I am a happily cis woman, promoting trans visibility and trans acceptance is something I feel passionately about. From the 14-20th November 2015, TAW aims to promote the visibility of transgender people across the country. The final day will be the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) an annual day of remembrance for those who have lost their lives to transphobic violence. It is essential that we embrace Transgender Awareness Week because, although transgender people have arguably now more visibility than ever, the fight still continues. For example:
-Anti-LGBT hate crime murders have increased 11% from 2010
-40% of LGBT murder victims in 2011 were transgender women
Transgender people of color are also 28% more likely to experience physical violence compared to people who are not transgender people of color.
– As murders of transgender people often go unreported, there is no way to know accurate numbers.
(Please note these figures are from the ‘Injustice at Every Turn’ report conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.)

These are just a few statistics- the truth is that an alarming proportion of transgender people, including teens, face discrimination, abuse and even violence on a daily basis. This needs to stop, and we need to stand together as allies and friends and help stop it. In honour of TAW, and the vital work it stands for, I thought I’d share with you a list of a few of my own inspirational transgender women. Drum roll please, let’s begin! In no particular order…

Laverne Cox
TRANSTIME
If you haven’t heard of the one-woman-powerhouse that is Laverne Cox, um, where have you BEEN?! The list of adjectives pertaining to this woman just goes on and on: Strong. Beautiful. Talented. Intelligent. Groundbreaking. Fearless. Spokesperson. Rolemodel. Known best for playing transgender inmate Sophia on hit prison drama ‘Orange Is The New Black,’- and for her amazing ‘TIME’ magazine cover- she is also this awesome little trans girl’s superwoman. (*Sniff sniff* #transisbeautiful)
Gabrielle Diana
Gabrielle Diana is a 16 year old Canadian MTF (male to female) trans activist who regularly vlogs about her own transition and trans-related issues via YouTube. Her vlogs are often funny, honest, moving and sincere. She also includes some amazing makeup tutorials (her tutorial on how to apply foundation has now become my go-to video for foundation.) Yep, it’s official- Gabrielle’s makeup is ON POINT and I’m pretty much dying of envy. When I was sixteen I could barely apply lip balm, let alone cranberry and gold autumn-inspired eyeshadow. I first heard about her when a video of her family celebrating her legal name change (to Gabrielle) with a cake went viral. (See above.) And I mean VIRAL. The Daily Mail, Metro, BuzzFeed…you name it, this video was THERE. And it is an amazing video. I had to fight back tears watching it, and seeing how supportive her family are of her. She has since been interviewed in The Advocate, where she talked openly about her struggles and the dark period of her life before her transition. Every weekend I now check out her channel and feel uplifted by her positivity, her courage and her candour. Those of you who check out my Twitter feed (@EleanorKeane1) will see that I’ve tweeted about her a few times- for her videos, especially her MTF transition timeline, which had me fighting back tears, are nothing short of inspiring.
Paris Lees

I was lucky enough to hear Paris Lees talk at a feminist conference once, and ever since then I’ve been a big fan. She’s articulate, passionate and dedicated to raising awareness of trans issues and trans hate crime. An award-winning journalist, she’s been a panelist on ‘Question Time’, presented programmes on transgender topics and been featured in the ‘Guardian’ and numerous other publications. She writes a weekly column for ‘Vice’ magazine, and has talked in depth about her experience of childhood bullying and her time in prison before her transition. She is, in my opinion, a true survivor and a great ambassador for trans awareness.

Andreja Pejic
ANDREJA

Do I need to even mention how INSANELY jealous I am of this woman’s cheekbones?😛 After becoming known initially for her androgynous looks, (she walked in both male and female fashion shows,) after transitioning Andreja has become the first transgender model to front a major cosmetics campaign (in her case, for the huge brand Makeup Forever,) AND the FIRST EVER transgender model to feature in ‘American Vogue.’ She’s been in scores of campaigns- I can’t even name them all- and walked some of the biggest fashion runways. Andreja is also currently filming a  Kickstarter-funded documentary- ‘Andrej(A)’- about her life and transition, charting her journey from life in a refugee camp to being scouted by a modelling agent whilst working in McDonalds, to working for the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier. It looks both moving and fascinating, and if I had known about it before the Kickstarter campaign closed I would definitely have donated. (Damn!! I just missed it!!!) As it is, the Kickstarter campaign wanted $40,000, and ended up with over $60,000 with donations from all around the world. Woah. It should hopefully be ready for the Sundance Film Festival next year, and I CAN’T WAIT to see it.

Andreja’s inspirational, uplifting story has proven to the notoriously fickle fashion industry that, despite the naysayers, YES, you CAN transition and be a successful, highly-in-demand model, and that  transitioning can be just the start of a new, wonderful journey, and that inner beauty is just as important as outer beauty, which she has of course has in spades.(Oh yeah, and her Instagram feed is INCREDIBLE. She is without doubt the undisputed QUEEN of Instagram.) Basically, I’m just in awe of her.

Janet Mock

Janet Mock’s memoir ‘Redefining Realness’ was the first ever ten-starred review I posted on this blog. It’s a beautiful book, charting her struggles with sexual abuse, sexwork and the intricacies of life-changing gender surgery. (I loved it so much I even used firework gifs in the post!) In 2012, Mock started a Twitter hashtag to empower transgender women, #GirlsLikeUs, which is now all over Instagram and Twitter- quite rightly so- and she also contributed to the ‘It Gets Better’ project, which is a charity I support wholeheartedly. Since then she’s paved the way for transgender youth by  promoting transgender education programmes and has presented at the GLAAD awards. I love her work, and I look forward to seeing what she does in the future.

Of course, this is just a selection of the brave transgender women who inspire me- other transgender women (and men) include:

Courtney Demone and her groundbreaking #DoIHaveBoobsNow Instagram experiment, which challenges the confusion over Instagram’s nudity laws when it comes to transgender men and women documenting their transition (for updates follow her on Twitter)
Lili Elbe (the original inspiration for ‘The Danish Girl’,)
-The ultra-talented and very funny Rebecca Root (from ‘Boy Meets Girl’) –Aydian Dowling
-‘The Guardian’ columnist Fred McConnell
-YouTuber and beauty vlogger Stef Sanjati
Jamie Raines– who took a selfie every day for THREE WHOLE YEARS to chart his transition.And, many many more besides.
Making the world a safer, happier, more inclusive place for transgender people is so vital, and Transgender Awareness Week plays a big part in promoting this. If you’d like to find out more, please check out the links below. (There are also links to transgender resources and charities on my website.) Stay safe, stay happy, stay brave and above all be yourself!🙂

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR)

It Gets Better Project

It Gets Better Project Shop (bascially ‘cos I want their beanie hat. Just sayin’.)

Andrej(A) Kickstarter Page

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