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News Details at Edinburgh Napier University


Trans Day of Visibility 2024
Recognising what life for transgender people is like and celebrating transgender people’s impact in the world.
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Content warning: struggles and harm facing transgender people.

Sunday 31 March is Trans Day of Visibility (TDoV), a day to recognise what life for transgender people is like and to celebrate transgender people's impact in the world.

When transgender people are “passing" as their lived gender, not being recognised as transgender, this may hide that it is a trans person making the contribution and having that impact. When acting on trans issues, their impact may be seen as niche so broadly unrecognised. Otherwise, the credit for their impact may not be given where it is due, as has often been the case for women, people of colour and non-European cultures throughout history.

Some notable trans people to celebrate:
Lorena Borjas was a transgender Mexican-American woman who worked to support transgender people facing human trafficking, trying to shed light on exploitation faced by transgender People of Colour. 

Sophie Wilson is a transgender computer scientist from England who designed Acorn personal computers in the 1970s and began the design of ARM processors, which have been heavily used in modern smartphones.

Wendy Carlos is an American transgender woman who is known for composing the scores for the movies A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and Tron, as well as working with Bob Moog to help guide the development of Moog synthesisers. 

Stephen Whittle is a legal scholar and activist, whose work has had a substantial impact on the legal rights of trans+ people in the UK.

You can find out more in our 'Trans is past, present and future' post.

It is important to also highlight that being transgender is not an exclusive identity trait, that there are transgender people of any nationality, ethnicity, neurotype, disability status or any other social group that you can consider. Their experiences are an intersection of the demographics they belong to, and experiences as a person of one demographic can be at odds with priorities of another demographic they belong to. There can be struggles for these intersectional experiences and needs to be recognised or honoured within settings which reflect one aspect of their identity. Gender diversity has existed worldwide throughout history and you can find out more about gender-diversity in various cultures through PBS's Map of Gender Diverse Cultures. It's also important to point out that there are significant intersections between the trans/gender non-conforming/LGBTQ+ community and the neurodivergent community. Lots of trans and non-binary people are autistic, ADHD or some other variety of neurodivergent.

Humans are commonly expected to conform, fit in, assimilate into the expected appearances and behaviours of society around them. Transgender people often go to great lengths to “pass", be seen in the same way as cisgender people of their lived gender identity, and avoid being “clocked", recognised as being transgender, so in some ways, a TDoV goes against the grain!  

Whether in social or professional settings, trying to pass (which is often what trans+ people feel they need to do to be safe) places extra burdens on transgender individuals trying to live their lives. There are aspects of transgender lives which can't really be discussed without the transgender person “outing" themselves as trans. This can be as simple as recounting childhood memories (girl guides or boy scouts), or talking about historic relationships (marriage or civil partnership).

LGBT+ Staff Network:
If you would like to join the staff LGBT+ Network, as an LGBT+ person or an ally, please contact LGBT@napier.ac.uk. We have coffee catch ups online, co-working days in person and occasional other in person events. It is important for us to have allies in the network as not everyone who is LGBTQ+ is out publicly, so allies can serve as a bit of a smokescreen for those people to be part of the network without outing themselves. This is on top of the valuable acts of allyship such as promoting marginalised voices and their experiences. As there is a difference between not being racist and being anti-racist, similarly there is a difference between not being homophobic, biphobic, transphobic or otherwise bigoted and being an ally. Allyship is active and we encourage colleagues to contact us about the experiences of the LGBT+ community and what they can do to support it. One way we can share knowledge and understanding is through our Pro at Pronouns training.  

Pro at Pronouns training:  
This online interactive workshop delivered by the Staff LGBT+ Network was developed in response to staff request for support on how best to engage with groups of students of diverse gender identities, following student feedback. The workshop explores the impact of assumptions upon all of us and our abilities to give our best to the opportunities in our lives, and the role language use plays in this. The workshop is an accountable space, where participants are encouraged to ask questions in good faith which they have felt unable to ask in other settings, to move toward a place of mutual, respectful understanding. If your team or a group of colleagues would like to take part in this workshop, please contact LGBT@napier.ac.uk, letting us know who the group of participants will be, roughly how many to expect and when would be best for us to carry out the workshop. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch, too.  



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