MARCH 31 is Transgender Day of Visibility, and local support organisation TransFolk of WA is celebrating with a family-friendly day down at North Perth Town Hall.
TransFolk of WA started back in 2012, initially as a support group for trans men (men who were assigned as female at birth) but then expanded into having mentors and support groups across the spectrum.
These days they have online groups and monthly meetings for trans women, non-binary people (who don’t identify as male or female), parents and families, and their T-Junior online support group which was started at the request of parents with transgender kids.
Executive director Nick Lawrence says the groups are set up “so people can talk between themselves and discuss common issues, reduce isolation, and build a support network”.
They also direct each other to trans-friendly doctors and psychiatrists so people don’t waste their time with health care professionals with anti-trans views who refuse to prescribe hormones needed for transition.
Mr Lawrence, assigned female at birth, transitioned about six years ago at age 32. He says “I would have been about five years old when I realised I didn’t want to grow boobs”. But when he was a young kid in the 80s he’d never heard the word transgender and didn’t know any trans people.
“Every [Pride] fair day I’d walk around hoping I’d meet a trans guy… I couldn’t find anyone to ask questions.” He ended up setting up a stall himself, and it grew from there into the trans mens group and then TransFolk of WA.
The international Transgender Day of Visibility was started in 2009 as more of a celebratory event, as previously the only trans-centred holiday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20) which reflects on trans victims of violence.
Mr Lawrence, a mechanic by trade who works in the mining industry, says; “the whole idea is just to stand up and be counted, and to be proud of who you are, and show the world that we are good members of society, we are everyday normal people”.
On TDV, Transfolk are having a family friendly event and all are welcome, so it’s a good educational day for cis-gendered people (that’s when your gender identity matches what they decided you were at birth) to come along and learn a few things.
For the $10 entry they’re putting on lunch and a drink, and there’ll be tunes from DJ Roskie, slam poet champion Jessie Oliver, the trans woman magician Zatanna Queen of Illusion, and some fun stuff for kids like the paper plane maze, arts, soft toy making and origami.
It’s on Saturday 11am to 3pm and they’ve got an event page up on Facebook under “Visibility Celebration 2018” or go via their website at http://www.transfolkofwa.org
by DAVID BELL