Why Visibility Matters

Visibility

the state of being able to see or be seen.

What Does it Mean to be Seen?

As a later in life trans man, visibility is a complex issue. I want to be seen as the man I am, but also as the person (assumed woman) I experienced life as for nearly 40 years.

When I walk about my world now I am often assumed to be a cisgender heterosexual man and neither of those things are true about me. So I am really not seen. I was a mom for almost 20 years and now I am often mistaken for a dad. Although I’ve come to realize that these are just labels, our society, myself included, have certain thoughts and feelings attached to these labels.

For the majority of my life I did everything I could to blend in, not be noticed. Invisibility was my goal. I think I was quite successful at this. Now that I long to be truly seen, I struggle to attain a sense of real visibility. Sure I’m seen as a man now and that brings me a certain measure of delight and euphoria, but the all encompassing person that I am is almost never fully taken in. I am not seen for who I was raised, who I experienced 20 years of adulthood as.

My sexuality is also not visible. I am perceived to be a person who is attracted to women because I am engaged to a woman. I am in fact pansexual. The less visible one’s identity is, the higher the risk of erasure. As outlined in this article, lack of visibility can lead to:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • suicidality
  • non-suicidal self-injury tendencies (Kerr, Santurri, & Peters, 2013)

How I Use Visibility in my Career

I am a transgender life coach and visibility is the foundation of my career. Being able to live my life authentically, out loud and proud, provides the opportunity for other trans folks and parents of trans people to see that it’s okay to be transgender. It’s not only cisgender heterosexual people who are able to have successful careers and relationships. I am living proof that being trans doesn’t have to be a deterrent to having a fulfilled life worth celebrating. This is why visibility is so vital, so that others can see the possibilities that exist for marginalized folks.

Want to learn more about what I do and how I can empower you?

How Can We Support Visibility?

These are a few great ways to support visibility.

  • Become a better ally – visibility starts with feeling safe, if our world was full of accepting and affirming allies, more LGBTQ+ folks would feel safe to come out.
  • Push for more visibility in the media. If kids could grow up seeing people like them in their favourite movies, tv shows, music videos and books, they would realize that their identities are valid and worthy.
  • Support and attend workshops and summits such as the LGBTQ Family and Influencer Summit

Visibility is Life is the theme of this summit. I am the leader on the gender track and I have some amazing presenters from around the world coming to you virtually for a day packed full of empowering presentations and workshops for transgender folks and parents of transgender kids. If learning about LGBTQ visibility and how it literally saves lives is important to you, you’re not going to want to miss this event!

Visibility

the state of being able to see or be seen.

Everyone has the right to see themselves in the world and to be seen as their most authentic selves. Everyone is valid and worthy of celebration. Let’s create something better for our LGBTQ+ youth than the world we grew up in. Let’s do the work and start saving lives. And remember

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