Transgender Awareness Week (Nov. 13–17, 2018) and Transgender Day of Remembrance (Nov. 20, 2018) are two events that seek to increase the visibility of transgender people and raise awareness about the kinds of issues faced by the transgender community.
Hatred, fear and ignorance about transgender people are not uncommon in a world accustomed to sorting more than seven billion people into just two binary gender categories. People whose gender identities and expressions do not fit neatly into the commonly accepted gender binary face barriers to some of the most fundamental aspects of daily life. As a result of living with these barriers day after day, many transgender people develop health issues which, in turn, become additional barriers. Transgender people often struggle with housing, employment and fear of violence, and have difficulty accessing a variety of services that many other people take for granted, including basic health care.
The solution is easy; educate yourself about what gender is, and relax if you encounter some people who do not fit traditional notions of gender expression. We all have to be comfortable in our own skin. That can be a struggle for anyone, but particularly for transgender people.
We are all people—someone’s child, sibling, or parent—and we all have something unique to contribute to society. If we do what we can to dismantle barriers and approach the notion of gender with flexibility, we will quickly see that, just like everyone else, transgender people have a great deal to offer.