When we set out to create this year’s campaign, I only had one thing in mind: joy. I wanted us to spend the weeks leading up to International Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31) celebrating the breadth of our existence.
Transgender life. Non-binary affirmation. Gender nonconforming expression. This day — this one day in March — is here to recognize and honor anyone whose gender is beyond the scope of the cisgender man/woman binary.
It isn’t for cis folks. It isn’t even for LGBTQIA+ allies. It’s for people who experience their gender in a way that feels aligned with the expansive “transgender” identity descriptor.
Yet each year, many mainstream acknowledgments — let alone “celebrations” — appear to be directed at an audience made of anyone but those who are trans.
Trans people don’t need to be reminded of “their continued struggle for a life of equality, security, and dignity” (U.S. Secretary of State, 2021) as a condition of receiving a limp bouquet of lifeless roses once per year.
Let’s be real: Anyone who is trans is already familiar with the many ways in which our communities are oppressed.
We see daily the lights and lives of our friends, neighbors, lovers, comrades, and family members extinguish under the weight of constant discrimination, violence, and degradation.
It’s impossible to ignore. But that doesn’t make it all we should focus on.
This month — and every month — we’re proud to highlight the voices and experiences of trans communities. Not to “raise awareness about transgender people” (GLAAD, 2021) but to embrace and empower each and every person in our communities to live.
To live in whatever way feels comfortable for you, whatever that might look like.
First, associate nutrition editor Rose Thorne gets at the heart of how trans communities are disproportionately affected by conditions that increase the risk of developing eating disorders.
It isn’t a cautionary tale or rehash of the same troubling statistics many of us know. This is lived perspective from those who have been there and are still here, breaking down what they really need to aid in their recovery and help prevent others from experiencing the same thing. Read Rose’s article here.
Next, Denny taps some of the best trans nutrition experts to explain how trans and intersex people can navigate the binary world of nutrition information to better understand their bodies’ needs.
One of the biggest obstacles? Population-level nutrition guidelines reinforce fatphobia by assuming that all people want to be thin, should be thin, and are eventually able to attain thinness. Read Denny’s article here.
Freelance science journalist Tara Santora shares a more than welcome look at trans athletes past and present who’ve done the damn thing — and blown everyone else out of the competition in the process.
And should anyone need a reminder: Trans athletes are the gender they say they are, trans athletes don’t have an “unfair advantage” because of their gender, and trans athletes can and should compete as the gender they are. Read Tara’s article here.
Sophie Litherland closes the month with a first-hand view of why it’s never too late to transition. The ability to explore your gender doesn’t expire after a certain age — it’s always an option, and it’s always one worth examining if you feel like doing so.
What’s more, “passing” doesn’t have to be the goal. There isn’t one specific look that must be attained in order to “successfully” transition. The desire to and process of transitioning is as unique as each person who might consider it. Read Sophie’s article here.
All caught up and ready to read more? Here are some of our favorites to kick off your reading list:
- 68 Terms That Describe Gender Identity and Expression by Mere Abrams, LCSW, and Sian Ferguson
- Two Black Trans Artists on the Healing Powers of Self-Care, Community, and True Allyship by Gloria Oladipo
- Transgender Pregnancy: Moving Past Misconceptions by Sarah Prager
- Tips for Finding a Healthcare Provider Who’s an LGBTQ+ Ally by Gabrielle Kassel
- What to Expect from Gender Confirmation Surgery by KC Clements
Something else on your mind? Our sex, relationships, and identity hub covers everything from cuffing during a pandemic and safer chest binding to using birth control alongside hormone therapy and tips for being a better lover.
Tess Catlett is a sex and relationships editor at Healthline, covering all things sticky, scary, and sweet. Find her unpacking her inherited trauma and crying over Harry Styles on Twitter.