Today, 31 March, is International Trans Day of Visibility. It’s a relatively recent event, founded in 2009 and designed to celebrate the lives and achievements of transgender people (in comparison to the more sombre Transgender Day of Remembrance on 20 November, which remembers those people killed through violence and discrimination). People will share stories and inspiration via social media (#TDOV) and events around the world.As a general rule, I’m not a fan of ‘days’. We started off with saints’ days but they have proliferated (and often extended – a local pub was advertising special offers for ‘St Patrick’s week’). Some are no more than a blatant attempt to sell greeting cards – nurses’ day? Others push a product or try to get you to do something silly for charity (‘Crazy Hair day’ anyone? No, me neither.)
So why mark this one? Because, for the last three years, I’ve been talking to trans people and reading about their day-to-day experiences via Twitter and blogs. It’s easy to think that the battle for transgender acceptance has been won with trans characters in shows like Hollyoaks and Eastenders but I read daily examples of casual discrimination. I believe that visibility and popular media have a huge role in supporting acceptance (the first lesbian kiss was on Brookside 22 years ago) so I’ve made a transgender character the lead in my novel. I’ve taken these real-life happenings and used them to illustrate what Detective Inspector Robyn Bailley has to go through as she comes out to the world as trans while continuing her job. I hope that by reading what she has to go through as she tries to lead a normal life, we may all become more accepting of our diverse and beautiful world.