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Lui Asquith (they/them), Director of Legal and Policy at Mermaids, with an important and timely reminder this Trans Awareness Week

Trans Awareness Week was introduced as an opportunity to platform our lives and raise awareness; it’s an opportunity for anyone to understand what it means to be trans from people that are trans and non-binary.

This year’s TAW is particularly crucial.

It must be a moment to remind everyone – and in some instances, ourselves – who we are as people (not as headlines) and that we are worthy of celebration and respect.

I know first-hand that sadly many of us have had to emotionally disconnect from our identities at points to protect ourselves from another year of public ridicule and having our rights and existence questioned.

When I first remembered it was soon to be TAW, I honestly didn’t really feel anything – that made me feel sad when I realised this. I reflected and reminded myself and my colleagues that there are moments when we have to give ourselves the opportunity and permission to embrace ourselves: TAW is one of those times.

When you are working in this sector and within this era, it is so easy to swept along in the whirlwind and get distracted from the most important thing: trans joy”

Don’t get me wrong, we should be able to do this every, single day and we work to make this a reality, but I know that sometimes it feels impossible. Underneath TAW’s potentially clinical surface there’s me and there’s you: there’s us, there’s our community – our lives and stories to tell.

Mermaids is an organisation that is made up of trans binary people, trans non-binary people, non-binary people, gender queer people, gender exploring people, queer people, parents of trans young people as well as a few amazing cisgender allies. We were talking about TAW the other day, I got distracted looking around the room just taking in how many wonderful, diverse experiences we have even just within our small little unit.

Then I thought about the young people we support and the family members we support and had a moment of fully absorbing how many lives we are so privileged to be privy to. When you are working in this sector and within this era, it is so easy to be swept along in the whirlwind and get distracted from the most important thing: trans joy.

And there’s so much of it. Mine comes from remembering that the binary is a system that can be dismantled and we can (and are in the process of) creating a new way of living whereby everyone is embraced and respected.

Where does your joy come from?

This year, TAW is not only an opportunity to reject – and speak out against – the atrocious abuse that this community has been subject to over the past few years from the mainstream media. But it – above all else – must be used to remember and platform our stories and lives. So people can learn, yes, but also so we can be celebrated.

If you have had a tough time lately, I really hope TAW can give you a moment to share some trans joy with your friends and family. If you don’t have the energy to educate – don’t. TAW isn’t there to demand anything from you, but to simply be yourself.  

I am so proud of every single member of staff at Mermaids and the wider LGBTQIA+ sector – we are working in uniquely difficult times and yet we are still as wonderful as ever. This week is yours and all of our trans siblings.

Sending my solidarity to you all – happy Trans Awareness Week.

Find out more about how Mermaids is marking Trans Awareness Week here.