The transgender flag. Photo courtesy of Kat Love via Pixabay.The transgender flag. Photo courtesy of Kat Love via Pixabay.

London to fly the flag on Transgender Day of Visibility

The City of London will pay tribute to the trans and non-binary community on March 31 to commemorate Transgender Day of Visibility.

The pink, blue, and white striped flag will be flown at city hall in observation of the international celebration.

In order to make this happen, Chair of London's Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Oppression Community Advisory Committee Ryan O'Hagan submitted a proclamation request that was recently approved by council.

"In recent years, Pride events in London have been excellent, but some trans folk have said that they don’t always feel like they are celebrated. So Trans Day of Visibility is a way for us to do that," explained O'Hagan.

International Transgender Day of Visibility is a chance to honour the lives of transgender and non-binary people, while acknowledging and raising awareness about the discrimination that they face.

"It’s also an opportunity to celebrate and to recognize that they live and breathe amongst our community, that they are contributing members of our society, and to really acknowledge that a lot of achievements are made by the trans community as well," said London's Director of Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Rumina Morris. "We really want to create a safe, welcoming, and inclusive city for Londoners regardless of what body they are in."

City staff have been striving, especially in recent years, to embrace London's diverse population and combat hate in all of their operations. Efforts have included using more gender-inclusive language in the strategic plan, introducing an anti-racism and anti-oppression framework to their corporation, and commemorating significant dates that impact various equity-denied communities, such as Trans Day of Visibility.

People who identify as transgender or non-binary are some of the "most hard done by in our society," according to Morris. They tend to have a harder time with employment, housing, and other societal pressures, she explained. Constantly fighting this type of discrimination can take a real a toll on the individual's mental health.

“People are people," Morris stated. "They have a right to take up space in our community and our organization.”

After announcing that city hall would fly the transgender flag at the end of March, Morris said public reception has been mostly positive.

O'Hagan agreed, but admitted that they often face backlash on their personal Twitter account from people who don't support their ideologies.

"Debates are for things like economic policy and zoning laws, debate is not for human rights," O'Hagan asserted. "We live in an incredibly diverse city with different views and different people. We have an option: we can choose to let those issues divide, cause conflict, and cause problems; or, we can respect everybody and everybody’s identity, we can understand that those people are no less valid because of their identities, nor are they less important than people who don’t identify under the trans umbrella."

In upcoming years, O'Hagan hopes to plan more events to commemorate Transgender Day of Visibility, but they need more time to address the safety, mobility, and financial concerns of those who might like to attend.

In the meantime, those looking to celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility are encouraged to honour the trans and non-binary communities by acting as an ally. Both Morris and O'Hagan recommend taking time on March 31 to do some research and get educated on what it means to be non-gender conforming, the challenges these folks are faced with, and some of the feats they have conquered throughout history.

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