The transgender community is perhaps the most visible it has ever been — and a new video shows why that’s so important.
The video, titled We Are Visible, is a quick, comprehensive primer on what being part of the trans community means to gender diverse Australians. The three-minute short covers several aspects of the trans experience, including the choice to transition medically or not, pronouns, and the difference between gender identity and sexuality.
We Are Visible was released for International Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual global celebration of the trans community on March 31.
“We choose to be visible in the hope that, one day, it’s safe for everyone.”
The video was also released for the launch of The Self Definition Project, a South Australia-based initiative that will tell the stories of transgender and gender diverse people. The broader project hopes to share why it’s so essential for transgender people to be visible in today’s society, and what the community would like non-trans people to know about them.
“It’s not safe for all of us to be open about being transgender,” those in the video say. “But we choose to be visible in the hope that, one day, it’s safe for everyone.”
The script of We Are Visible was created by filmmaker Sam Matthews — who identifies as transgender — in collaboration with about 25 members of the South Australian trans community.
“For those of us fortunate to feel safe, now is the time to speak out against the negative voices of conservative public figures and media organizations,” Matthews writes on The Self Definition Project’s website. “Whilst in today’s world there are many voices trying to silence ours, it’s essential that we strive for current and future generations of people to acknowledge the diversity of the human experience with respect to sex and gender.”
In one particularly raw portion of the video, people bravely name physical characteristics that give them dysphoria. A trans man, for instance, says he is self-conscious about his tiny hands. A trans woman, meanwhile, says she dislikes her “manly” voice.
“For those of us fortunate to feel safe, now is the time to speak out.”
“But my uniqueness isn’t a weakness,” two women say together in the video. “It doesn’t make me any less of a woman or any less of a person.”
The group also discusses the gender-related judgment and violence they experience regularly in public, shedding light on the struggles of being visible as a trans person.
“People give me side-eye on the street,” one woman says.
“I’ve been spat on, on the street,” a man adds.
We Are Visible boldly depicts the struggle and resilience of the trans community with a vital overarching theme. It’s a message trans advocates have long asserted: There is no “right” or “wrong” way to be transgender.
Trans people simply need the ability to define themselves — no rules or restrictions.