The necessity of support: Transgender Awareness Week

The week of November 13 – 19 marks the annual Transgender Awareness Week, which is followed by the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20.

We at CHASI firmly stand with our transgender colleagues, family, and friends, and want to use this opportunity to restate the importance of loudly, visibly supporting transgender people in all facets of our lives.

That support can take so many different forms. It can be proactive, like using people’s correct pronouns. It can be reactive, like fighting back against bullying/targeted violence when you see it occurring, whether in-person or online. And, as a recent study from UBC and the McCreary Centre Society shows, it can be ongoing love and support.

Three gender-diverse people dressed in colourful clothing share a warm and joyful hug.

According to that study, while gender-diverse youth do face significant risks including discrimination, violence, and food insecurity, strong social supports contribute to their overall well-being.

Gender-diverse young people who felt highly connected to their school were more likely to report good or excellent mental health, and were less likely to have forgone physical or mental health care, to have experienced negative consequences of substance use, or to have seriously thought about or attempted suicide.

Gender-diverse youth who reported greater feelings of family connectedness were much less likely to report extreme stress, suicidal thoughts and attempts, or problems with substance use. Youth with high family connectedness were also much more likely to have been able to access physical or mental health care when they needed it.

These findings put a clear onus on us as a community to provide a caring and welcoming environment for all transgender people, and to be advocates for LGBTQ+ rights in every forum where we can make our voices heard.

This illustration by Celina Koops is part of CHASI’s ongoing series acknowledging some of the significant annual observances that align with our core values. To learn more and see the other illustrations in this series, please visit our observances page