This week is Trans Awareness Week. I don’t have searing insights here, but I did want to reflect briefly on how my own awareness has changed over the last year.
Most obviously, I’m now aware I have a daughter. Ash has always been my daughter, I just didn’t know that until relatively recently. Many of the other points below have come from her. It’s wonderful to be educated by your kids. (And Robin and William certainly teach me things too – just not so much about trans issues.)
I’m more aware of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), mostly due to the proposed changes to it. This goes alongside increased awareness of the many forms of discrimination faced by trans folks.
I’m now much more keenly aware of the divisions within feminism over whether cis women’s rights and trans women’s rights are complementary or in opposition. I’m not naive enough to expect feminism to mean the same thing for everyone, and there are plenty of other topics that cause fierce debate within feminist circles, but this one makes me sadder than any other.
I’m gradually raising my awareness on a slightly more academic level: Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl is proving very thought-provoking and informative. It’s going to take me a long time to process all the information and ideas there.
On a human level, I’m more aware of the experiences of trans people simply by meeting, talking and making friends with them. Thinking about it, this is almost all trans women at the moment, which is obviously not ideal in terms of learning more diverse experiences, but maybe that will change over the next year.1
On a more personal level, I’ve probably thought about my own gender more over the last year than in the past. I identify as a man: why? What does that mean to me? How much does that identification prop up a harmful gender binary dichotomy? I don’t know whether this really counts as something to bring up when specifically talking about trans awareness week, but it’s definitely a corollary of my increased awareness of trans issues.
I’m very conscious of how much I’m still unaware of, and I look forward to taking stock again in a year’s time.
1 I don’t like the way this paragraph reads. I don’t like using the word “them” as if it’s in opposition to “us”. I don’t like the idea that I’m “collecting” trans friends as some sort of woke status symbol, or that these new friends “owe” me education. I may rewrite this when I’m less sleepy. For the moment I just want to acknowledge its problems.