48% of trans people under 26 have attempted suicide, with frequently cited contributing factors being among other things, familial rejection, social isolation and fear of verbal, sexual and physical violence. A founded fear, as 40% of trans people experienced a hate crime or incident in 2015-16, with the workplace and school being a common source of verbal and sometimes physical abuse. Further a significant factor in LGBT homelessness being rejection by family too. It is rather plain to see, therefore, that these factors have visible and devastating prevalence and effects, leading not only to elevated rates of suicidality, but to myriad other social problems.
But this fatalistic picture is not etched in stone, or even permanent marker, with studies finding that a supportive family and wider social environment can have monumental impact; alleviating the risks to Trans Mental Health and putting incidences more in line with the national average.
This is why we do what we do. Non Binary – North West believe that this impact is not confined to family, friends or even just to directly involved services. As young Trans people we know of the role that all sorts of societal elements play in the above grim image: from daily interactions misgendering us; to schools and public buildings lacking accessible facilities; to the blank look on someone’s face when we say “actually, I’m not a boy or a girl.” Thus we also know the hugely positive impact that these factions have the potential to have.
So, central to our work is this mission: the vision of a culture that is not only aware of Trans identities, but understands and supports us. That not only knows of the pronouns and terms we use but is confident in using them; in discussing them; in starting and sticking to conversations around gender and the issues facing Trans people. A society that is adaptive and curious; supportive and accessible.
Though this sounds like a big missions, it is what we hope to centre in everything that we do. Be that through interactive and challenging active learning activities in our training, or in the creative conversations and community that we aim to build in our writing, events and resources.
Ultimately, at the heart of Non Binary – North West, is heart and the belief that the way things are is not ok, but it can change.