Why Does Trans Inclusion Matter?
Sexualized violence affects people of all genders, however women and trans people are disproportionately affected by sexualized violence. We believe that to bring an end to sexualized violence we must address root causes of discrimination and oppression. Some ways we can do this are by increasing our own knowledge of how to meet the needs of trans communities, encouraging our community partners to do the same, and making our services as accessible as possible to trans survivors.
Who Is Affected?
Trans people come from all backgrounds and from all communities. Some trans people do not identify with the sex or gender they were assigned at birth and identify instead with the “opposite” gender while other trans people identify neither as a ‘man’ nor as a ‘woman.’ Some trans people are “out” or public that they are trans while others like to keep this information private. Just like there is no one way to be a man or a woman there is no one way to be trans. Some trans people have surgeries or take hormones while others choose not to. We are all shaped by where we grew up, our cultural background, our access to money, who we are attracted to, our abilities, etc. We are also shaped by how we are treated by others and by society. The reality is that sexualized violence can affect anyone, whether directly or indirectly. At VSAC we feel it is our responsibility to support all survivors and their family, friends, and loved ones. By having our crisis line and Sexual Assault Response Team open to people of all genders, and by explicitly stating that our counseling services are open to all trans survivors or trans support people, we can better address the realities of how sexualized violence exists in our communities.
By opening our services to trans survivors our intention is not to take away from non-trans women survivors. In fact, we believe that by being better allies for trans women we can better address misogyny and sexism, that is to say the marginalization, discrimination, or hatred of women. The reality that trans women experience the highest rates of violence in the trans community is connected to the fact that women are still discriminated against, harassed, and sexually assaulted more frequently than men. We feel that by addressing trans-misogyny, that is to say the fear or hatred of trans women or trans feminine people, we are addressing all instances where femininity and women are considered as inferior to men and to masculinity.
Wanting to Learn More?
There is lots of information available to help all of us increase our knowledge and understanding of gender. We hope that some of the links below will help you answer some of the questions you might have about what trans means and how you can be supportive of trans people. Just like there are words like “homophobia,” “racism,” or “sexism” that describe the discrimination against a certain group of people there are similar words commonly used to identify discrimination against trans and gender non-conforming people such as:
- Transphobia: the fear, hatred, and discrimination of people whose gender identity or presentation (or perceived gender identity or presentation) is not the same as the one they were assigned at birth. Transphobia includes discriminatory beliefs or actions and includes “systems” that exclude, erase, marginalize or force people to identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.
- Trans-misogyny refers to the marginalization and hatred of people who identify trans women and/or whose presentation is feminine. It is connected to societal understandings of women and femininity being inferior to men and masculinity.
There are many organizations doing excellent work to address transphobia and trans-misogyny. For example, FORGE does lots of excellent work to research, train and better support trans survivors and all their content is available online. They have lots of amazing resources such as an info page about who transgender people are (PDF), some terms (PDF) trans people use, and rates of violence (PDF) experienced by trans people.
If you wish to learn more about trans people on Vancouver Island you can read the “Vancouver Island Trans Needs Assessment (PDF)” or see what resources are available for trans people on Vancouver Island. If you wish to learn more about trans health programs and resources in British Columbia you can read the Trans Health Information Program resource list (PDF).