Trans visibility day for me is a day of broadcasting representation, the confidence in numbers that this day brings I believe should be an everyday occurrence considering the positive effect that it has in forming connections with other trans* people and the broader community. It’s easy for trans* people to latch onto negative associations with their body transformations with what is being fed to them on a daily basis on what is the ‘desired body type’ which is often airbrushed, photoshopped and filtered which is quite literally making it an unattainable image even for the models involved. It’s important to step back and question what is being sold to you on social media, is it realistic motivational material or preying on insecurities? A recent adjustment that I’ve made to my social media diet is to take control of what I want to see and surround myself with representations akin to myself and representations that are often diluted or regulated in the traditional media sphere. The beautiful thing about the internet is it’s reach and there are so many talented and innovative diverse voices that are able to exist free from filter and provide different insights into global issues or just provide a different thought process or perspective in general due to their life experiences. This has benefited me in being able to reframe my outset of rather than feeling unable to connect or feeling pressured to conform to that of media representations of gender and body, that rather when receiving my intake of information that I’m comforted by the presence and confidence of individuals that differ from the aforementioned ‘ideal’ that even those who bare more resemblance to still find that they are unattractive. All together we must stop comparing ourselves to the unattainable and learn to love what makes us, us. Do what makes you feel comfortable and happy in your own skin, don’t do it because it makes someone else happy or more digestible for society.

I think that’s what’s so great able the hashtag on the day as it shows those who are currently unable due to circumstances or grappling with transitioning that you are not alone in your journey. I will give a breakdown below of how corners of the internet have led me be at peace with my development and make connections that have enriched me prior to and upon my transition.  I will provide information and places that have helped me (in no way are these paid promotions they are just places that have personally helped me)

Independence can be an amazing thing to delve into post high school, as you can learn more about yourself and break down taboos. Sometimes it may be daunting but you can bet it will uncover something new about yourself, your limits; perhaps a new muse. As I was about to start hormone therapy it was quintessential that I monitored changes in my body, the Equinox Gender Diverse clinic in Fitzroy was the place that gave me comfort in asking specific questions pertaining to trans* and queer health, knowing that I would receive reliable information or obtain referrals with open-minded clinicians. In terms of management of dysphoria during my second puberty, I scouted and ordered trans* products prior to hormone therapy to get use to the application and maintenance of products. UppercaseCHASE1 is a trans veteran when it comes to sexual health and frequently asked questions about symptoms of hormone therapy. I’ve found that the trans* products market is largely untapped and I’ve had correspondence with small businesses (mainly in the online space) and in sex toy shops that are trying to push for a presence in the public market place. I believe it is crucial for trans* people to be able to feel comfortable and reassured in what they are purchasing is right for them, as prosthetics (especially multi use bottom ones) can be very expensive with added shipping and non-refundability. Be sure to read specs of the products and make sure that a product is giving you all the functions you desire before purchasing. If you can’t afford certain items during this period due to financial circumstances or wanting to try out the item, try contacting a tailor (there are some great ones that take commissions for local drag queens outfits, so they are well aware of prosthetic materials), there are post-op trans* people from the ftm shed that donate their binders and for bottom prosthetic look at the basic models they are also good for beginners in packing.

I’m particularly proud of the younger generations’ emphasis on the importance of self-love and mental health. There are many safe spaces for young people to discuss in private or amongst a support group about where they are sitting on the mental health spectrum at any given time and like regularly seeing a general practitioner for a health checkup, the same can be said to promote good mental health. Both Headspace and Queerspace are great places for queer youth. For me I have a strong sense of wanting to reassure and help guide those who are younger than me through similar experiences I had growing up and there are many mentoring programs you can get involved that I was made aware of during my volunteering at Midsumma Festival. The initiative that Start Out is undertaking to provide online counselling to gender and sexually orientated diverse people is a great stride in assisting people who are shy about face to face counseling and/or find themselves unable to access counselling services due to personal and/or financial circumstances.

There are some great places to party that provide a judgement free zone and an inclusive environment. My friends and I enjoy heading into Fitzroy on Thursday (Thursgay) and heading to Yah Yahs, Sircuit, The 86 which offer free entry for courtesy of queer youth gatherings. There are lip sync battles and great variety of music to dance to. When it comes to private parties’ Unicorns at Rubix Warehouse, Cheated Hearts, Stay Gold, Alt Queer Party at Bonez and Closet Party have some great themed events that make for a wonderful night. There is nothing more priceless then grooving to some 2000s pop music with your friends or strangers to the early hours.

– Caleb Hardy

Image credit: Instagram Artist @Elesq – Remember you are always growing and unlocking parts of yourself