Today is International Trans Day of Visibility (ITDOV), a day of celebrating our trans community. YAY!
I am not trans, but my work as a monk has given me the privilege of being an ally, to help advocate and amplify the voices of trans folks in our communities.
There have always been trans people in Buddhism and there has always been trans people everywhere! There are many members of this forum who are trans. We see you and you belong here, you are cared for and this is a safe space for you to be as walk along the Buddhist path. To all those trans folks who have messaged me privately, and who are not yet confident to be out on the forum, I hope that the visibility of other trans Buddhists here and in the world inspires you to embrace who you are, in this ever changing stream of identities.
One thing that helps our trans friends feel safe and welcome here is the public support of allies, who help to nurture a safe and welcoming space for all. It’s so important for our community to acknowledge, include and celebrate our trans Buddhist family. This is just basic goodwill for all beings, it is love, it is compassion and it is rejoicing in the goodness of the wonderful trans people in our community.
Learn about why trans visibility matters on this ITDOV website and access resources that help you understand what it means to be trans and how we can best support our trans community by learning about gender, pronouns and the barriers to inclusion.
Here is Janey who took trans visibility to the BSWA monasteries a few years ago, welcomed by Ajahn Brahm and Ven Mettaji at Bodhinyana, and by Ven @Pasanna at Dhammasara.
Below is a great video of Michelle McNamara talking about her experience as a trans Buddhist, including rejection from Buddhist communities.
Here is Venerable Tashi Choedup talking about the erasure of her trans identity in Buddhism and the struggles of her community.
Bee Scherer, scholar of Buddhism and queer theory, and leader of the Intersectional Centre for Inclusion and Social Justice (INCISE), Prof Scherer gives an overview of gender and sexuality in Buddhism.
Here is Rainbodhi’s resource, Welcoming the Rainbow about inclusion in our communities including tips on how to make your Buddhist centre a better place for trans folks to be.
You can read about Trans Buddhists in this anthology Transcending: Trans Buddhist Voices edited by Kevin Manders. There is also a call for submissions for the next volume which focuses on BIPOC trans Buddhists .
Lastly, several people have contacted me in the last few days saying that they want to seek ordination and are looking for pathways to help make this happen. If you are someone who wants to pursue this path, please get in touch with me and I will connect you to a working party of people who share your aims.
Happy Trans Day of Visibility to you all! May you be safe, happy and loved as we all deserve to be.