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They said we couldn't have it - but trans joy is our reality
Queer Gaze Transgender Non-binary

They said we couldn't have it - but trans joy is our reality


As a young person, I learned that to be trans was to be lonely, to be excluded, to be unhappy. As a trans adult I learned that I had been lied to.

Over my lifetime society has presented transness as something joyless, something that one would never want for their child, their friend, or themself.

Being trans has been seen as an illness, a contagion, a mistake, and the stories people read about us are part of that. From 2015 to 2019, research commissioned by IPSO showed a 400% increase in coverage volume of β€˜trans issues’.

While the number of articles has increased, those written by trans people themselves remain strikingly few.

So many of the days in the calendar that are dedicated to trans people are about awareness raising, being more visible in society, about loss and grief.

So many feel like they are designed for cis people, with the intention of assimilation. These days often leave me feeling hollow and exhausted.

When I sat down to write about transness, I assumed that what I would write would be the sorrow, the struggle.

But instead what flowed so easily out of me was all of the brilliance of being trans. The book that was so desperate to be written was one of love and mutual aid and boundless joy.

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More and more trans people are reclaiming the right to our own stories. Trans-led organisation We Exist created the Trans Day of Joy fundraiser with a programme full of the excellence of trans performance.

Gendered Intelligence ran Trans Joy week, full of interviews and discussions about the wonder and happiness of transness.

Our stories are so much bigger and brighter than those β€˜trans issues’ articles would have you believe.

I wish I knew at 15 what I know now. I wish I knew that I would one day have all the things they said we couldn’t have.

You can hear an excerpt from Tash's book here and buy it here: All The Things They Said We Couldn't Have: Stories of Trans Joy

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