A new U.K.-based initiative, Trans+ History Week, has been launched to help people learn and celebrate the “millennia-old history” of transgender, non-binary, gender-diverse, and intersex people.
Its inaugural event will be held 6 – 12 May 2024 with events, content and exhibitions.
The organisation sets out how you can trace both queerness and gender-diverse communities through millennia. It notes that this rich history is getting more time in museums, archives, and dedicated history spaces listing the work of Queer Britain, the Museum of Transology and the Bishopsgate Institue.
However, the organisers say the history of Trans+ people is still little known.
It will begin on May 06 2024 to coincide with the 91st anniversary of the Nazi raid on the world’s first trans clinic and, consequently, one of the most famous Nazi book burnings.
Though the vivid and horrifying image is one so many people recognise – most don’t know the context that it was at a site dedicated to exploring the lives of LGBTQ people.
Trans+ History Week founder Marty Davies says that despite the Holocaust becoming a compulsory subject in State-maintained schools from September 1991 – as someone who was schooled during Section 28, they didn’t learn about the book burning’s trans history until just last year.
“The entirety of my schooling took place under Section 28. Earlier this year, I found out I’d been robbed of important history about myself and my community. Learning that one of the most famous Nazi book burnings was at a trans clinic was a huge surprise to me,” says Marty Davies, founder of Trans+ History Week.
“Learning about it set me on a path of wanting to learn more and go deeper. If we rob people of their history, we deny them their humanity.”
Davies says she hopes the week can create space for Trans+ people to enjoy both the difficult moments in history, as well as those filled with euphoria.
Christine Burns MBE, editor of Trans Britain, a look at the modern history of trans people in the U.K., spoke about why she believed lifting up Trans+ history was so vital:
“A fundamental characteristic of any community or minority that’s struggled for visibility is that it has a history.
“It also goes without saying that, in many cases, that history will have been mistold, obscured or simply buried by the dominant powers in society — whether by malignant design or unthinking cultural illiteracy.”
Burns explains that many members of a minority will have known the struggle of trying to make sense of their place in the world without any role models or evidence of others like themselves. Adding that while it’s “certainly the story for gay and lesbian people, folks with disabilities, minority ethnic populations and even women – it is also very evidently the case for trans people too.”
The week will be held just before Pride month, which organisers say is so the Trans+ History Week can ground the community in its past – “before marching for its future.”
The project, a QueerAF launchpad project which facilitates, mentors and supports queer creatives to create their own creative enterprises, has broad support from the U.K. LGBTQ sector.
Supporting organisations at launch include Stonewall, Gendered Intelligence, LGBT Foundation, Switchboard, Not A Phase and leading LGBTQ media Diva and PinkNews, among many others.
It’s been announced as Trans Awareness Week draws to a close. This weekend vigils are held all over the world for Transgender Day of Remembrance, which remembers transgender people killed due to the prejudice the community faces.
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