Helping Transgender people Thrive In The Community
1 in 5 Canadians will experience a number of mental and physical health difficulties in their lifetime and the transgender community is no exception. However transgender people also face some unique set of challenges surrounding identity development, gender identity, discrimination and barriers to employment and more. Compared to cis-gendered teens, transgender youth are far more likely than their non-transgender peers to experience depression — nearly four times the risk, according to one study (Reisner 2015).
The American Psychological Association defines transgender (sometimes referred to as trans) is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth (2014). In our current society, this poses a challenge as services and structures in place are set up for cis-gendered individuals.
For the transgender community to flourish, it is important that we start by acknowledging their struggles. Then address these challenges appropriately, by being supportive and assisting in improving the daily lives of trans people. Whether that is by being understanding and respectful in our interactions or by motivating them towards self-acceptance. This then helps us individually to take responsibility and collectively become active participants within our Edmonton communities.
Ways to support
There are a number of things we can do to help the transgender community thrive. One way is to create awareness and understanding through education. This can be done in our schools, workplaces and homes. We all have a role to play in helping the transgender community thrive. By working together, we can create an inclusive environment that is respectful and supportive of all individuals. Transgender people are just like everyone else – they want to be respected, loved and accepted for who they are. Let’s start by giving them the support they need to thrive in our communities.
Another way we can help transgender people thrive is by ensuring that they have access to adequate housing and shelter options. Transgender people often face discrimination when trying to find housing, which can lead to homelessness or unstable housing situations. We can help by advocating for inclusive and safe housing policies, as well as providing financial assistance or support to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Employment is another area where transgender people often face discrimination. Transgender individuals may be passed over for a job opportunity, experience harassment in the workplace or be fired simply because of their gender identity. We can help by creating a more trans-inclusive work environment, through things like employee training and anti-discrimination policies. Transgender people should feel safe and supported when coming out at work, and have access to the same opportunities as everyone else.
This is also an invitation to look at our own gender – what we came to learn about our gender and how this intersects with our lived experiences. While taking into account that transgender people are often forced to confront the societal norms around gender, which can be a daunting task. We must also remember that transgender people are diverse – there is no one way to be transgender. Some individuals may transition physically, while others may not. Some may identify as male or female, while others may identify outside of these traditional gender binary labels. It is important to respect the individual’s identity, regardless of how it differs from our own preconceptions.
Lastly, we need to remember that transgender people are just like everyone else – they have families, friends and loved ones. They want to be happy and live a full life, just like everyone else. We can show our support by being kind and understanding, and by standing up against discrimination and hate crimes. By working together, we can help create a society where transgender people can thrive. We need to be allies and advocates, by creating inclusive environments in our schools, workplaces and homes. Transgender people deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and love. Let’s start making a difference today!
Transgender day of visibility is commemorated on March 31st !
Disclaimer:The writers of this blog do not identify as being part of the transgender community but are allies. We do not hold narrative nor imply to understand our intent is to increase awareness.