Thursday, November 18, 2021

We Need More than Transgender Awareness

In honor of trans awareness week; to be explored all year round.

A burgundy square with white text that reads: "We need more than transgender awareness. In honor of Trans Awareness Week; to be explored all year round." The letters in the 'trans' part of the word "transgender" are depicted in alternating blue, pink, and white, representing the colors of the transgender flag. In smaller letters at the top of the square, attribution is given to @tristankatzcreative.

This post was adapted from an Instagram post by the author. You can find the original post here.

By Tristan Katz

Each year between November 13-19, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility about transgender people and address issues members of the community face (explanation of Trans Awareness Week from This week of awareness-raising leads up to Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) on November 20, a day to honor the lives lost due to anti-transgender violence.

2021 is the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States, with at least 45 trans folks killed, most of them BIPOC (and these are just the cases that have been recorded). This year, we’ve also seen over 100 anti-trans bills introduced in the U.S., and in spite of the claim from Netflix leadership that content like Dave Chapelle’s recent special “doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm,” we know this to be factually untrue. We need more than one week of transgender awareness, and we need our allies to do more than cultivate awareness. 

The word ally is not a passive noun. Ally is an active verb. This is a call to action that spans well beyond the seven days of Trans Awareness Week. 

For this Trans Awareness Week and beyond, consider dedicating time to reflecting on how you might show up to actively challenge systems, structures, and beliefs that stigmatize and marginalize transgender, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and queer individuals. The following questions are a sampling of inquiries you might reflect on via free-writing or journaling, or through conversations with others. Feel free to bookmark, save, and return to these prompts. There is always room for more (un)learning. Fun!

Reflection Questions:

Are you considering how you’ve been impacted by the gender binary?

Are you noticing the assumptions you make about others’ gender identities based on appearances?

Are you dedicating time to listening to and learning from trans voices and stories from a wide array of different identities and experiences?

Are you supporting trans educators, activists, and creators beyond simply sharing their content?

Are you challenging the norm that genitalia is what defines gender?

Are you interrupting cis-heteronormative, transphobic, and homophobic statements when you hear them?

Are you slowing down when you speak about other people?

Are you exploring gender-inclusive language?

Are you dedicated to the practice of using all pronouns correctly?

Are you recognizing where you hold privilege?

Are you using your privileges to name and interrupt harm? 

Tristan Katz (they/them) is a writer, educator, and digital strategist specializing in business and marketing coaching-consulting, web and graphic design. Based on the ancestral land of the Cowlitz and Clackamas peoples, now known as Portland, OR, Tristan teaches workshops and trainings centered around queer identity and trans* awareness with an intersectional lens, along with justice-focused digital marketing strategies for yoga and wellness professionals. Through their podcast, articles, digital resources, and workshops, Tristan supports those who seek to grow their work while staying aligned with the practices of yoga, equity, diversity, and inclusivity. They are also a member of the Accessible Yoga Association's Board of Directors. 

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