This is the twelfth year that the occasion has been marked since its foundation by a US transgender activist in 2009Amy Howell

Members of the Cambridge community have come together today (31/03) to mark Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV).

Wolfson College has released a tweet in support of its students and is flying a transgender flag to mark the occasion. Alongside this, the College has today (31/03) announced the launch of the WCSA (Wolfson College Student Association) Gender Expression Fund, which is “dedicated to reimburs[ing] students who purchase items to make them more comfortable with their gender presentation,” including binders and wigs.

The annual £250 fund, created by the WCSA Welfare Team in collaboration with the College, will give students who apply a maximum of £50, and unused funds will be carried over to the following academic year.

This follows a vote by the Cambridge Student Union (SU) last month which renewed support for the rights of transgender students: under the proposal, the SU will lobby for the creation of a centralised, University-wide Gender Expression Fund.

A similar scheme is run by Clare College’s UCS (Union of Clare Students), with a current fund of £150 annually. Selwyn, Girton, Christ’s, Robinson and Jesus Colleges also offer similar schemes.

Discussing the fund’s announcement, David, a Welfare Rep at Wolfson College, told Varsity: “the creation of the fund is thanks to the collaboration and ideas of lgbtq+ officers across colleges at Cambridge.

“It’s important for colleges to take a stand institutionally in light of the wave of transphobia in the UK and internationally, and the creation of the fund is indicative of this commitment, but there is a lot more that can be done to support lgbtq+ and other students.” He added that this could include “simplifying and taking seriously” complaint and harassment procedures across the University.

This is the twelfth year that the date has been tied to transgender awareness, after it founded by US transgender activist Rachel Crandall in 2009 in order to celebrate the lives of transgender people and their contribution to society, as well as standing in solidarity with the struggles that they face.

Students and residents of Cambridge have also decorated several public places around the city with stickers with messages of support for transgender and non-binary people. These include messages such as: “trans people welcome here”, “trans lives matter” and “trans women = real women”.

This comes just weeks after Cambridge students led efforts to conceal a series of transphobic stickers that were found around the city with messages of support for the transgender community, with estimates suggesting that between 50 and 100 stickers were created.

St Edmund’s College has also posted a tweet in acknowledgement of TDoV, saying transgender and non-binary members of the College: “We see you, we support you, and we are proud to have you as members of our community.”

Images seen by Varsity also show that Emmanuel College has flown the transgender flag today (31/03).

The Trans Students of Cambridge Facebook page, in a post released today, highlighted that “allyship is a long-term project” and that “while we welcome the events and attention of the needs of trans people that this day brings, those things don’t have to be cordoned off into a few days of the year.”

The post also emphasised the importance of rest for transgender people after “a long and tiring year since Trans Day of Visibility 2020,” and encouraged the community to take a break.


Mountain View

Not a third gender

Lucy Saunders, a Welfare Rep on the Cambridge SU LGBT+ campaign, spoke to Varsity about the significance of the event: “On Trans Day of Visibility, while we state to the world that we are always here and always have been, we show so much more. Today’s celebration is an insight into the fact that we are capable of so much love and so much joy when together as a community. Transness is beautiful; Trans Day of Visibility is our gift to cis people to show that beauty to the rest of the world.”

The Sedgwick Museum will hold a two-hour talk entitled ‘#PrideofCambridge’ this evening to celebrate Cambridge’s LGBTQ+ researchers.

The Out at Cambridge report examining the experiences of LGBTQ+ students, released last month, highlighted that: “For some trans, non-binary, and genderqueer people, disclosure is not a choice. For example, if participants did not pass with their gender preference, identified as nonbinary, or used gender-neutral pronouns, they were being ‘pre-disclosed’ by their appearance and pronouns.”

The SU also launched their Care+ campaign and the Big Cambridge LGBT Survey report during LGBTQ+ History Month last month, with the Care+ report emphasising that “Trans and Non-Binary (NB) respondents were slightly more likely to feel insecure in their living situation than average. We can confidently say they were also significantly more likely to feel unsafe.”

Support for trans and non-binary people

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, support can be found here:

Cambridge University Trans Inclusion Guide: This guide was released in November 2020 by the SU LGBT+ Trans and Non-Binary Reps (2020-21) and details University policies for trans students, such as name changing, and advice on individual and structural allyship for students and staff. 

Imman: Imman is a support group for LGBT Muslims and runs support groups for transgender Muslims. 

Actions for Trans Health: This organisation campaigns to reduce the healthcare barriers felt by trans and non-binary people.

GIRES: The Gender Identity Research and Education society aims to give voices to trans and non-binary people and offers a range of resources and offers training for medical and educational professionals.