Today is a celebration of the transgender community.
International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual event dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as their contributions to society. We’d like to take today to pay tribute to the transgender community.
We asked Joanne Lockwood, Inclusion & Belonging Specialist at SEE Change Happen why Transgender Day of Visibility is important, and what we can all do as allies to support the trans community:
“There are many hashtag Days, Weeks and Months throughout the year – some of them to mark an anniversary, some a tragedy, and some are to celebrate and bring visibility. International Transgender Day of Visibility is one of celebration, an opportunity for transgender people from around the world to be proud of who they are and come together. Personally I am overwhelmed by posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and many other platforms all sharing the #tdov or #tdov21 hashtags as a show of unity and allyship.
It is important for transgender and non-binary people to be supported by allies – allies, who are not themselves trans or gender diverse, but stand with us shoulder to shoulder, picking up the strain and amplifying us. Trans people still face discrimination even in 2021, and as highlighted in the recent UK YouGov / TotalJobs report, 65% are still anxious or afraid to be open about their gender identity at work, many are still denied employment opportunities and the number of suicides and mental health concerns are disproportionately higher among those who sit outside of the ‘gender norm’.
I call on trans people from all over the world, the amazing allies and those who will become allies to be proud, be recognised – but also remember that there is still a very long way to go in order for trans people to feel safe and included in society, the workplace and in many cases their own families.
If you are struggling yourself, then please do shout out for help – don’t face your challenges alone. Please ask someone who you know is transgender or non-binary if “they are ok? – really ok?”
Remember, hashtags won’t change anything unless you personally take a positive step to help bring that change… be the one!
A core element of any diverse and inclusive workplace is supporting the trans community. This is only a tiny snippet of 7 change makers who are leading the way for trans in tech today, but we just wanted to give them the praise and recognition they deserve on today of all days.
Inclusion & Belonging Specialist | She/Her | Advisor | Talent Acquisition & HR | Keynote Speaker | Panelist | Podcaster | Board Member | Transgender Awareness | Gen-X
Founder and CEO of SEE Change Happen, a Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Practice with a specialism in providing Transgender Awareness and support to organisations and businesses. Joining the Royal Air Force straight from school as an electronics apprentice, Joanne rejoined civilian life to develop her own self-taught career in computer networking. Joanne has a breadth of life experiences as an entrepreneur, involvement in fundraising activities and volunteering with Chrysalis, a Hampshire based charity supporting Gender Identity Matters.Joanne featured in the Channel4 documentary, “The Making of Me” which documented her transition period over three years. Joanne uses her own experiences in life and business to inspire many others with her journey.
Entrepreneur at Ideas42 Ventures | Race and Technology Practitioner
An award-winning writer, filmmaker and scholar. He’s also the co-founder and creator of Appolition, a crowdfunding platform to raise money to help pay bail for people across the United States, and Trans*H4CK, a non-profit dedicated to developing technology for the transgender community.
3. Ana Arriola
(They/she) |Head of Design | AI & Insights | Cloud + AI |Microsoft
Ana Arriola has been listed as one of the most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech by the Business Insider. Currently her title is Head of Design / AI & Insights / Cloud + AI at Microsoft, Ana is an accomplished “craftswomxn in bringing award-winning products and services to market, leveraging nearly two decades of experience and expertise in brand, human-centered product design, and product management.”In a 2016 interview and before Ana had went through her full biological transition, Ana said the biggest reason she hadn’t done so yet was “fear for my 26-year career and financial implications for my family’s future.”
Chairman | CEO| Founder |United Therapeutics Corp
“Martine sees herself less as transgender and more as what is known as transhumanist, a particular kind of futurist who believes that technology can liberate humans from the limits of their biology—including infertility, disease, and decay, but also, incredibly, death.” — New York Magazine, September 7, 2014
Martine Rothblatt is responsible for the creation of a satellite radio start up that later became known as Sirius XM. Following this success, Martine became inspired and determined to find a cure for her daughter’s rare lung disease which led to her changing the lives of thousands of patients through United Therapeutics. Martine’s books include The Apartheid of Sex, inspired by her experiences as a transgendered woman, the book depicts traditional male and female roles are defined by social attitudes. Her latest book, Virtually Human, explores human rights for the digital lifeforms in the not too distant future.
President at Miss Ross, Inc. | Founding CEO at TransTech Social Enterprises
Angelica Ross is the founder and Executive Director/CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises. She’s also an actress, transgender rights advocate and self-taught computer coder. Angelica’s passion for education, building business and community is at the heart of her work helping companies and individuals develop their brand identity. Angelica believes making brands aware of their impact on society and social causes empowers them to create change. Angelica creates engaging Social Media Strategies, Educational Speaking Events & Workshops for LGBTQQIA with a focus on the most marginalised communities.
6. Stuart Barette
Trans lead of HSBC’s UK Pride Network
An openly trans man working as Global CMB IT Application & Infrastructure Streamlining Manager at HSBC. Stuart has been featured for his efforts toward helping transgenders have a better banking experience on OUTstanding’s Future Leaders list. Stuart described his own experience of going to the bank as “terrifying” because every time he did, he had to declare he was trans. Stuart supported the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees by sharing his own lived experience with HSBC who introduced non-gender specific titles for its retail bank account.
7. Karla O’Brien
Computer science student | UCD, Dublin, Ireland
Speaking at Inspirefest in 2016, Karla O’Brien has been applauded for her openness and visibility of coming out as as a transgender woman. Empowered by the acceptance she felt in Berlin where she believes is a place where “anybody can be anybody”, she returned home and came back as the person she always wanted to be. Karla describes technology and the world of gaming as giving her the first experience of escapism in her life. “My theory is that the escapism felt by me and many other trans people is the reason so many of us find a home in tech. We feel a sort of nostalgia for the first place to accept us as we are”.
So today we’re asking you to take a positive step to celebrate all trans and non-binary. Send a message to a trans friend or colleague, or donate to a local organisation. We can all do our part in breaking down barriers to support and uplift the trans community.