Trans Joy is a weekly blog series celebrating the positive side of trans experiences, in an attempt to bring some balance to contemporary trans discourses. This week I’m writing about the value of safe spaces.
To be a trans person in this world is to be constantly on guard. The UK media is all too prepared to publish hate speech about us, and for some reason this is a viewpoint that has been picked up by many self-described feminists. And besides this hateful vitriol there’s the more innocent forms of ignorance to deal with (I am proudly non-binary but I don’t necessarily want to explain the nuances of my gender identity ten times a day).
So often when I’m meeting new people or engaging in public spaces I will be on edge, prepared to respond to an inane question, or defend myself from a hateful comment. And sometimes it’s simply a feeling of otherness, a sense that I am not a part of this group, that this isn’t a space where other people will relate to my experiences.
That’s why trans inclusive spaces are so important, it’s a place where we can put down the burden we have to carry everywhere else. Often its something we don’t even realise we’re carrying with us until we’re in a group designed to support trans people – either in trans exclusive (not to be confused with exclusionary) groups, or groups which go out of their way to be inclusive of trans people.
The first time I found myself in one of these spaces after coming out as trans I almost cried. Feeling welcomed, free to talk about my relationship with gender and know that people will just fucking get it is such a relief. These spaces are so valuable, and I am so grateful for the people who make them happen. There is joy in finding a space to be yourself without fear.
I hope you all find some joy this week too ❤ If you want to contribute to this project then please get in touch 🙂