In honor of Transgender Awareness Week, MTV News asked young trans people: “What does Transgender Awareness Week mean to you?”
2015 has been a monumental year for the transgender community, but there’s more progress yet to be made. Not only do we want to highlight the powerful personal stories of these individuals, but we want to know: “What’s next?” Let’s shine a light on what has been accomplished — and what still needs to be discussed.
By Gabrielle Diana, 16
What does Transgender Awareness Week mean to me? Quite a blatant question to some people, and you could probably answer it quite quickly, but as my thoughts dive deeper, my realization becomes stronger.
Transgender Awareness Week is a huge step for the transgender community, and a chance to step back and look at what we have achieved. In the year of 2015, we have accomplished a huge deal that seemed quite impossible in past years, but we are here, being celebrated by many people, and remembering many siblings in our family who have been taken away far too soon. That still doesn’t fully answer the question, what does Transgender Awareness Week mean to me?
Primarily, Transgender Awareness Week is a fully visible example of the representation the transgender community has received. Celebration, revolution, empowerment -- all things that come to mind when I let myself feel pride for being part of the movement in fighting for equality among not only all sexualities, but all gender identities, including those who don’t identify with any particular gender at all. A torch in the air finally being help up for us, because we fought through the fire and took it back into our own hands.
Secondly, Transgender Awareness Week brings a large amount of attention and education to a large population. At a younger age, I was never introduced to the trans community. Had I been informed and educated about this in particular, I would have probably transitioned earlier. I believe that the focus on the transgender community brings people a sense of awareness about their own gender identity and the commonality of other people, which brings calmness to a large amount of the youth who are now being exposed to deeper parts of the LGBTQ+ community.
Last, but not least, Transgender Awareness Week brings the harsh reality of life as a transgender individual to light. The media's focus on trans people tends to aim towards the luxury and benefits of transitioning, but there is a lack of focus on murder, rape, assault, suicide, homeless, eviction and countless statistics that need to be addressed and discussed. The real truth is that a large amount of allies are aware of the disturbing reality but don’t step up and demand change with us. If #translivesmatter to you, then get involved in a way to promote awareness and protection to the vulnerability of the community.
Transgender Awareness Week is a liberating week for the transgender community, and we are proud of how much we are now represented. Although we have come very far and accomplished very amazing milestones, there is still a long, hard road for the transgender community. Keep an eye out for any candlelight vigils to pay respect to the souls we have lost, because this week should be about celebration and remembrance. Spread awareness and positivity this Transgender Awareness Week.
If you are transgender and thinking about suicide, or know someone who is, please contact The Trevor Project at (866) 488-7386.