TransChat: Activism

#TransChat is a monthly twitter chat on the last Sunday of every month for trans/gender diverse people, hosted by the Ygender twitter account. We’ll be kicking off at 6pm AEST on the 27th of October and this month we’re talking about activism!

Q1. What is activism to you? What does that look like in a trans context?

Q2. Do you participate in activism? If so, how? If not, why not?

Q3. Are there more useful ways of engaging with trans activism than others?

Q4. Are there barriers to you engaging with activism? Are there problems that you encounter in activist spaces?

Q5. What would make doing activist work easier?

Q6. Who’s doing good work in activist spaces? Who is a trans activist you admire?

If your tweets contain potentially triggering content, please include appropriate specific CWs!

Remember to use the #TransChat hashtag when you tweet so others can follow the discussion, and don’t forget to capitalise both words in the hashtag - it makes it easier to read and we want our online spaces to be accessible! 

You can see the whole discussion by following #TransChat (or searching it), and setting the page to ‘Latest’. This is also a great way to check out past chats!

Looking forward to talking to you!

Trans Wrestler Candy Lee Showed Me that Wrestling Can Include Trans People

Wrestling has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager, but as a trans person I never felt truly safe being out and working in the industry until I heard about Candy Lee. Candy is an amazing wrestler and outspoken transgender woman.

In an interview with The Spinoff Candy talked about seeing the WWE Royal Rumble on TV as a kid after she moved from Samoa to New Zealand. She said, “I didn’t really know what wrestling was, but I was hooked straight away. I used to watch it with my cousins and play wrestle with them, it became a big part of my childhood.”

It wasn’t until 2016 that Candy had her first professional match, and by then she was living openly as a trans woman. Knowing that Candy was able to enter the wrestling industry, be open about her gender, and be successful has given me so much hope as a young trans person working in the same industry, and she’s definitely been successful.

In just two years Candy worked her way up to holding three title belts at the same time, one of which she held from December 2017 to June 2019. WWE-style wrestling is a very physical performance where the outcome is planned before the match starts. It’s essentially a soap opera with a physical element: it's all about the story. To hold even one title belt a wrestler has to be physically skilled to have the strength and dexterity to pull of all the moves they need to do and have the performance skills to keep the audience entertained. Candy has convinced multiple promoters that she deserves to represent their company as one of the best talents of their shows.

I worked at a wrestling company for five years and never saw any openly trans people at a show, so when I found out Candy Lee was coming to Australia I bought a ticket as soon as I could. To my surprise the venue was a queer venue called Evie's Disco Diner, which in itself is a huge step for the wrestling industry. I started talking with some fans and met 6 other trans/gender diverse people- 4 of them had never been to an independent wrestling show in their life. Like me, they were there to see Candy Lee.

The wrestling community is starting to be a lot more inclusive. This year Nyla Rose, a first nations trans woman, signed on with All Elite Wrestling (AEW), making her the first openly trans woman to sign on with a major American professional wrestling company. AEW is a newer company but their first event sold out in four minutes, so seeing them support trans people is a big deal.

Seeing another trans person in a sport that I love and work in has given me so much hope and inspiration. It showed me that it’s possible to be out as trans and be safe and respected in the wrestling industry. In the past I’ve been scared of my physical and emotional safety in wrestling environments as a trans person but better representation of trans people in sports has made me feel safe to be myself.

The wrestling industry is making progress towards being an inclusive space for all to enjoy, and trans wrestlers like Candy Lee are a huge part of that. Candy will be coming back to Melbourne on the 11th of October.

TransChat: Disability

#TransChat is a monthly twitter chat on the last Sunday of every month for trans/gender diverse people, hosted by the Ygender twitter account. We’ll be kicking off at 6pm AEST on the 29th of September and this month we’re talking about disability

The questions will be:

Q1. Does your queerness influence the way that you relate to your disability or disabled identity?

Q2. Has your relationship to disability changed over time?

Q3. How do you deal with queer spaces that are ableist/inaccessible? What about disability spaces that don’t respect your gender or sexuality?

Q4. How do we make queer spaces disability inclusive and disabled spaces queer and trans inclusive?

Q5. Who’s already doing great work in this space? Any activists, queer disabled people, articles, or videos we should be looking at?

If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: 

“A1 [your message] #TransChat”.

If your tweets contain potentially triggering content, please include appropriate specific CWs!

Remember to use the #TransChat hashtag when you tweet so others can follow the discussion, and don’t forget to capitalise both words in the hashtag - it makes it easier to read and we want our online spaces to be accessible! 

You can see the whole discussion by following #TransChat (or searching it), and setting the page to ‘Latest’. This is also a great way to check out past chats!

Looking forward to talking to you!

Statement on the Proposed Religious Discrimination Act

We recognise the need to protect marginalised religious communities from discrimination and hate crimes, and we utterly reject the idea that this can be done by legalising other forms of discrimination. 

We oppose all religious exemptions from anti-discrimination law. No one should be allowed to discriminate against others on the basis of gender, sexuality, race, or disability and religious beliefs should never be an excuse to harm others. Queer and trans teachers at religious schools should never have to fear for their jobs just for being open about their identity. Queer and trans students deserve schools where they can safely be themselves and see role models from their own communities. Services that receive government funding should never be allowed to exclude queer and trans people or pressure anyone into conforming to the standards of their religion.

We also recognise that religious communities are not monoliths. Just as conservative religious groups have targeted and harassed queer and trans people, progressive religious groups have stood with queer and trans communities and fought for equity and justice. Just as their are queerphobic, transphobic bigots in religious communities, there are queer and trans people in religious communities. Using disingenuous claims of “protecting religious freedom” to create legal loopholes for anti-queer discrimination hurts all queer people and ignores the many religious queer people and religious allies who know that religion does not require bigotry. 


We live in a Christian-normative society where Christianity is prioritised and Christians are privileged. We have seen white supremacists target Jews and Muslims, and we recognise the need to protect marginalised religious people. Any conversation about religious freedom should focus on oppressed religious people who are targeted for merely existing, on non-religious people, and on queer and trans people. If there is to be a Religious Discrimination Act it must centre these groups, and must not become an excuse for further oppression.

Signed by
Bisexual Alliance Victoria
Ygender
Democracy in Colour
Aleph Melbourne

This statement is also posted on Bisexual Alliance’s website.

TransChat: Religion and Queerness

#TransChat is a monthly twitter chat at the end of every month for trans/gender diverse people, hosted by the Ygender twitter account. We’ll be kicking off at 6pm AEST on the 31st of August and this month we’re talking about religion and queerness!

The questions will be:

  • Q0. Introduce yourself however you like

  • Q1. How do you practice or relate to religion as a queer person?

  • Q2. Has your relationship with religion or views on religion changed over time?

  • .Q3 How do you deal with queer spaces that don’t respect your religion/culture? What about religious/cultural spaces that don’t respect your gender or sexuality?

  • Q4. How do we make queer spaces inclusive for religious queer people? How do we still hold space for the bad experiences many queer people have had in religious spaces?

  • Q5. Who’s already doing great work in this space? Any activists, queer religious people, articles, or videos we should be looking at?

If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: 

“A1 [your message] #TransChat”.

If your tweets contain potentially triggering content, please include appropriate specific CWs!

Remember to use the #TransChat hashtag when you tweet so others can follow the discussion, and don’t forget to capitalise both words in the hashtag - it makes it easier to read and we want our online spaces to be accessible! 

You can see the whole discussion by following #TransChat (or searching it), and setting the page to ‘Latest’. This is also a great way to check out past chats!

Looking forward to talking to you!

Trans People Need Inclusive Birth Certificates

The Victorian Parliament is considering new legislation that would make it much easier for trans/gender diverse people to change the gender marker on our birth certificates. You can help make sure this vital legislation passes.

Being forced to use ID that doesn’t match our gender is invalidating, insulting, and dangerous. We need to show ID when we enrol at school or university, apply for a job, get a working with children’s check, rent a home, open a bank account, apply for Centrelink, and so much more.

When the gender on our ID doesn’t match who we really are, we can be forced into outing ourselves as trans even when it’s not safe. For many having to show inaccurate ID is upsetting and causes dysphoria. Having the right ID makes our lives so much easier, and it sends a message to trans people that we are being recognised for who we really are.

Most MPs don’t know enough about trans people and the barriers we face to understand why having the right ID is so important. That’s where you come in. We need to tell them why this matters.

Learn about the birth certificate bill and what it means for trans youth: http://www.ygender.org.au/s/BCR.pdf

Contact your local MP:
http://www.ygender.org.au/blog/contact-mp-birth-certificates

Donate to support trans advocacy by trans people: https://donorbox.org/ygender

Share this guide and encourage your friends to get educated and contact their MPs too.

Tell your MP: Trans People Need Inclusive Birth Certificates

If you’re just hearing about the birth certificate bill or aren’t totally sure what it’s about read this one page summary first: http://www.ygender.org.au/s/BCR.pdf

Too many politicians don’t know enough about trans rights to understand why having a birth certificate that shows our real gender is important, and anti-trans groups are taking advantage. We need to make sure that the people voting on our lives hear from us.

Find your electorate
1. Go to https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/about/electorates and type in your address

2. Once you type in your address you'll see two boxes- one that tells you your district and one that tells you your region. Click Region to see who represents you in the Legislative Council, and District to see who represents you in the Legislative Assembly. The birth certificate bill needs to pass both the council and the assembly to become law.

3. When you click district or region you’ll see who represents you. Click view member to see their office phone number, address, and email.

Write your message
Your message will be more effective if you personalise it. Tell them why this matters to you, whether that’s because it affects you, or someone you know, or because this cause is important to you. Your message doesn’t need to be long, and it can say whatever you want. If you’re not sure where to start, use this template- you can copy any of this text directly and change any parts of it you want.

Introduce yourself
Tell them who you are. Make sure to mention that you live in their electorate- that means you’re one of the people who could vote for or against them, and it means they’re meant to represent you. Some examples are

  • My name’s David and I’m a 23 year old student living in Carlton.

  • I’m writing to you as a transgender person who’s lived in your electorate for over 20 years.

  • As a bisexual parent of a non-binary child LGBTQ equality is very important to me. As a family that lives in your electorate, we hope it’s important to you too.

Tell them why you’re contacting them
This is the main part of your message. Explain why this issue matters to you and why they should care. Personal stories are really effective here. Some examples are

  • I’m writing to you about the proposed amendment to the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Act that would make it easier for transgender people to update our birth certificates and give us the option of listing genders other than female or male for the first time. These changes would make a huge difference to me and thousands of trans people like me.

    Having a birth certificate with the wrong gender reminds me that I live in a society that doesn’t fully accept me every time I need to show ID. Facing hostile reactions when someone sees that the gender marker on my birth certificate doesn’t match the gender they know me as puts me in real danger.

  • Many trans people are stuck with birth certificates that list the wrong gender because the current requirements to change the gender marker are far to difficult. Forcing a trans person to undergo a surgery they may not want just to have an ID that reflects who they are is completely unreasonable, and limiting gender markers to female and male excludes everyone who doesn’t fit in either of those narrow boxes.

    If trans people can change their birth certificates to reflect who they truly are they’ll have an easier time enrolling in schools, applying for jobs, interacting with government services, and just living their lives. Everyone deserves to define their own identity and be recognised for who they are.

Tell them what you want
For this issue it’s pretty simple: you want them to vote for the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019. You could say

  • I urge you to vote in favour of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019

  • Please support transgender people by voting for the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019

  • When the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019 is being debated in the Victorian Parliament please speak up in favour of this bill and vote for it to pass.

  • I hope you will make a public statement supporting the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2019 and will vote for equality when the bill is debated in our parliament.

Finish the message
Keep this short- you can thank them for their time, or let them know if you want a reply (if you do, make sure to tell them how to contact you!). Then just add your name and you’re done.

  • Thank you for reading my letter, and I hope you’ll remember my story when it’s time to vote on this bill.

  • I look forward to hearing where you stand on inclusive birth certificates for everyone. Please let me know by replying to this email.

  • I would appreciate a reply with any information about where you stand. My address is…

What’s Next

After you’ve contacted your representative there’s more you can do!

Donate to support trans advocacy led by trans people: https://donorbox.org/ygender

Share information about the birth certificate bill: http://www.ygender.org.au/s/BCR.pdf

Share this guide on how to help with your friends and ask them to show their support: http://www.ygender.org.au/blog/help-make-birth-certificates-trans-inclusive

TransChat: Neurodiversity

#TransChat is a monthly twitter chat on the last Sunday of every month for trans/gender diverse people, hosted by the Ygender twitter account. We’ll be kicking off at 6pm AEST and this month we’re talking about neurodiversity!

The questions will be:

  • Q0. Introduce yourself however you like

  • Q1. Does being neurodivergent impact your gender identity?

  • Q2. Does being neurodivergent impact on your ability to express/present your gender? How so?

  • .Q3 Do you find that queer/trans spaces are ableist? Do you find that neurodivergent spaces are transphobic? How do you navigate that?

  • Q4. What could queer spaces do to be inclusive and anti-ableist?

  • Q5. Which neurodivergent activists or resources by neurodivergent people would you recommend to someone who wants to learn more about neurodivergence, ableism, and how they can be supportive?

If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: 

“A1 [your message] #TransChat”.

If your tweets contain potentially triggering content, please include appropriate specific CWs!

Remember to use the #TransChat hashtag when you tweet so others can follow the discussion, and don’t forget to capitalise both words in the hashtag - it makes it easier to read and we want our online spaces to be accessible! 

You can see the whole discussion by following #TransChat (or searching it), and setting the page to ‘Latest’. This is also a great way to check out past chats!

Looking forward to talking to you!

Non-Binary Celebrities

Happy International Non-Binary People’s Day! To celebrate, I’ve rounded up a list of non-binary, genderqueer, and/or genderfluid celebrities. It can be really helpful and heartwarming to see the wide variety of people who are non-binary and to know that you’re not alone in your experience of gender.

Actor Amandla Stenberg is non-binary and prefers they/them pronouns, though they requested that their pronouns remain listed as she/her on Wikipedia so as not to affect their career. 

Amandla wrote and directed two short films by the age of seventeen. The first was an adaptation of The Yellow Wallpaper; the second was about a “spunky foster kid...seeking to find herself.” 

*

While singer Sam Smith is still thinking through his gender, he has come out as non-binary and genderqueer. He says, “I’m not male or female, I think I float somewhere in between. It’s all on a spectrum.” In 2017 he said “he feels ‘just as much woman as I am man.’” Entertainment Weekly stated that Smith uses he/him pronouns, though they have no source for this.


Smith came out in an interview with Jameela Jamil for Jamil’s “I Weigh” body positivity project. Check out the photo Smith posted on his Instagram, or here’s my description of it:

A picture of Sam Smith and Jameela Jamil. Jamil is wearing a bright orange sweater and has one of her arms around Smith’s shoulders. She’s eating a cupcake with the other hand and looking at the camera. Smith, in a black sweatshirt, is loosely holding Jamil’s hand with one of his and eating a cupcake with the other. 

*

Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness is non-binary and genderqueer! He uses he/him pronouns “but does not identify as a ‘man.’” In an interview with Out, he said, “some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman.” In response to a question about “feminine identity,” he said, “I feel like my feminine identity is what makes me the strongest.” 

Look at his beautiful cat saying Happy Pride!

If you’d rather not click the link, it is a photo posted to Jonathan Van Ness’ instagram, @jvn, of a very fat grey and white cat standing on a kitchen countertop. The cat is sniffing a rainbow cake covered in sprinkles: layers of coloured cake are sandwiched between white icing. There’s a slice of cake on a plate with a fork in the foreground.

*

Actor and model Ruby Rose doesn’t “identify as any gender” -- she is “somewhere in the middle, which...is like having the best of both sexes.” She also identifies as genderfluid. Advocate wrote that she prefers she/her pronouns.

Ruby Rose posted a video to her YouTube channel in 2014 called Break Free in which she cuts her hair, takes off her makeup and nail polish, binds her chest, and puts on masculine clothing. Check it out here. (Binding with ace bandages the way she does in this video isn’t safe and can cause injury. Read Ygender’s article on binding safely here.)

*

The rapper Roes is agender. Two different articles from 2015 give conflicting accounts of his pronouns. Buzzfeed stated that he goes by they/them and strongly dislikes she/her pronouns. In the article from The Standard, Roes said he says they/them jokingly but hates it because it makes it sound as though he is multiple people, and she/her or he/him is fine


He posted this photo for International Women’s Day, captioning it “im not just a woman, as a woman i have the ability to be anything i want. to be more than just a word, more than just a role. i am my own hero!!! #happyinternationalwomensday 🌹.” 

*

Actor Ezra Miller said “I don’t identify as a man. I don’t identify as a woman. I barely identify as a human.” In a sprawling interview that covered such topics as their year 1 book report on a Stephen King novel and their four goats (I recommend giving it a read!), they said that their gender is fluid and they are “‘comfortable with all the pronouns.’” 


Earlier this year, they attended the Met Gala in an incredible outfit. Find a picture of them taken by Dia Dipasupil here.