Transgender Awareness Week is an annual movement geared toward raising awareness and showing support for the transgender community.
Each year, the event takes place between November 13 and 19, in the run-up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
This marks a time when people pay tribute to the transgender people who have died as a result of transphobic violence.
This summer, the LGBTQ+ community welcomed more than 1.5 million people to Pride parades in London. Despite the impressive turnout, the trans community appears to be facing increased challenges.
Hate crimes reported to the police against transgender people rose by 11 per cent in 2022, according to the Home Office. On average, 13 hate crimes are made against transgender people each day.
Another survey also revealed that there are large misconceptions and negative perceptions about the transgender community. One-third of Britons admitted in a 2023 survey that they didn’t know that transgender women were born biologically male.
In light of this, it’s never been more important for the LGBTQ+ community and its supporters to show solidarity and celebrate the trans community.
So let’s find out how to get involved with Transgender Awareness Week.
What is Transgender Awareness Week?
November 13–19 marks Transgender Awareness Week every year, a little over one month after National Coming Out Day is celebrated.
It is a time when transgender people and their supporters aim to raise awareness of and advocate for the trans community.
Throughout the week, you can expect increased advocacy, celebrations, and online and in-person events aimed at helping everyone embrace, understand, and support the trans community.
It takes place the week before the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is an annual observance held on November 20. This honours the memory of transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence during the year.
The day was founded by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honour Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.
How to support trans people in November
There are plenty of events taking place across London, and the rest of the country, for Transgender Awareness Week.
King’s College London is hosting its annual Trans Awareness Festival over two weeks to show support for the trans community within the university and across London.
In Haggerston, storyteller Vickie Holden will be hosting a storytelling event called Transparent, where she shares transition stories from myth, legend, and her personal experience.
You can also donate to a growing community of trans charities that are working to support transgender people and advocate for their rights and protection. Gendered Intelligence is one such example.
Alternatively, you can attend or host a vigil on November 20 to remember all those who lost their lives as a result of anti-transgender violence that year as part of Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Vigils are often organised by LGBTQ or local transgender advocacy groups and conducted in public spaces such as parks, community centres, and houses of religion. The reading of a list of names of people who died that year is a common part of the vigil.
Another simple way of showing your support is to acknowledge and use a person’s preferred pronouns. And, if you aren’t sure, asking someone for their preferred pronoun does no harm.
Where to get support as a transgender or non-gender-conforming person
Several charities provide helplines and other support for LGBTQ+ adults and young people who have experienced hate crimes.
Mermaids is a London-based charity helping trans, non-binary and gender-diverse children, young people and their families.
FTM London is a peer-support group for female-to-male transgender or transsexual people, and all those on the transmasculine spectrum, including all identifications of non-binary. The group can be contacted at email@example.com.
Depend offers free, confidential and non-judgemental advice, information and support to all family members, spouses, partners and friends of transsexual people in the UK. You can email Depend at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find nearby trans support networks by searching your location here.