Taking time to remember transgender lives lost

20 November 2021

For Transgender Day of Remembrance we spoke to the Champions from our LGBTQI+ Staff Network: Natasha Nelson, Highly Specialist Clinical Nurse and our Trust’s LGBTQI+ Champion, and Taylor Serban, Clinical Administrator and our Trust’s Trans Associate Champion.

What is Transgender Day of Remembrance and why do we mark it?

Natasha and Taylor: Transgender Day of Remembrance is an international, annual observance that honours the memory of members of the trans community whose lives have been lost in acts of anti-transgender violence, suicide, murder and the hardship of systemic oppression. It was started in 1999 by activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honour the memory of Rita Hester, a black transgender woman who was murdered in 1998. Every year on 20 November space is held to reflect and remember and honour those who have lost their lives.


How can we be allies and support transgender people?

Taylor: Fundamentally, transgender people just want to be acknowledged as people and treated equally. Accepting who someone is and acting with kindness is the best thing you can do.

Natasha and Taylor: Support for transgender people is more important than ever. Research from the National Centre for Social Research shows the mental health of transgender people has been disproportionately negatively affected by the pandemic. And a survey conducted by YouGov of over 800 trans and non-binary show half of transgender people have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination.

We’ve come up with these practical actions we can take including:

  • Being vocal as an ally and calling out transphobic abuse whenever we see it, so long as it is safe to do so. Supporting those being targeted lets them know they aren’t alone
  • Being visible as an ally, for example if you are an NHS member of staff you can wear rainbow lanyards or badges to show your support and signal you are happy to have a conversation on health and wellbeing issues relating to gender and sexuality, or that you can signpost to resources to explain LGBT+ health issues
  • Share your pronouns, if you are comfortable to do so. For example when you introduce yourself, on your email signature, social media handles or on your Zoom name. Pronouns can de diverse, examples include she/her, they/them, she/they, ze/hir etc
  • Using gender-neutral language and pronouns as standard practice until told otherwise. For example, using someone’s name or gender-neutral pronouns until they have expressed their pronouns
  • Continue to reflect as an individual, and within your teams in your workplace, on what we can do to continue to create safe spaces for transgender and gender diverse colleagues, patients and friends

It is okay to make mistakes. As long as we listen, learn and strive to do better.

Natasha and Taylor’s recommendations for where to find support

If you would like further information on the Trust gender services

  • The Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) is the largest and oldest gender clinic in the UK, dating back to 1966. The GIC accepts referrals from all over the UK for people with issues related to gender. You can read more about this service on our GIC website: https://gic.nhs.uk/
  • The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is for children and young people, and their families, who experience difficulties in the development of their gender identity. It's a national specialised service, based in London and Leeds, and is the only one of its kind in Great Britain. You can read more about this service on our GIDS website: https://gids.nhs.uk/

Candle photograph

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