I’m Alexa, and I’m the new Trans Inclusion Coordinator here at VSAC!
I’ve been involved with the centre already as a member of the Sexual Assault Response Team, as well as part of the facilitation team that’s developed and run our awesome Trans Inclusion Workshops. I’m also active in the local Trans community, manage some support groups, and – somehow – work in I.T. … because life is strange like that.
As a Trans woman, this work is both personal and so important to me. I am incredibly excited to be continuing my activist and support work in this role, and for all the changes and challenges this next year is going to bring.
So while we’re here… lets talk about Trans folks, sexual assault, and gender-based violence. How does this all tie together, and why is Trans inclusion such important work at a sexual assault centre?
First of all, gender-based violence is a general catch-all term for any violence that targets groups or individuals based on their gender. Trans folks, especially Trans women, are particularly at risk of gender-based violence because our very existence directly challenges more traditional gender roles and norms. By refusing to conform to our assigned identities, we open ourselves up to harassment, stigma, and sexual assault. This violence is not limited just to the community level – we’re exposed to violence from the judicial system, the State (we’re still waiting for basic protections!), and the very organizations that should be supporting us.
It’s incredibly common for Trans folks not to seek care after we’ve experienced violence simply because many of us feel these organizations are just as likely to do harm as they are to help. When we live in a world where Trans people are exposed to systemic violence daily, and the majority of us experience sexual assault – this is plainly unacceptable. It’s up to us as service providers to address this.
I hope that my presence at the centre helps us work further towards Trans inclusion, and towards a world where this work isn’t needed.