The Importance of International Transgender Day of Visibility to the Video Games Industry

By Dominic Shaw (He/Him) on 31/03/2022

As we in the games industry continue to equip ourselves with more knowledge and resources around EDI, there is no doubt amazing celebrations, cultural moments and important dates will become known to us all across the sector. One such amazing celebration that is happening today as we speak is International Transgender Day of Visibility!

International Transgender Day of Visibility (Also known as Trans Day of Visibility and TDoV for short) is an annual event occurring on March 31 dedicated to celebrating the achievements, contributions and experiences of transgender people around the world, whilst raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide and the work that still needs to be done too.

Having recently chatted to the Into Games team about International Transgender Day of Visibility - Abbie Darling (She/Her), Content Producer for Into Games shares with us why this day means so much to her and why it should for the rest of the games industry: 

Transgender Day of Visibility is an international day dedicated to celebrating trans people, our achievements, as well as most importantly raising awareness of the discrimination, inequality and transphobia we presently face worldwide. But when I was asked why the day was important to me as a trans woman, it brought forth a rush of emotions and thoughts about the many issues I, and so many others face on a daily basis. I believe it is a day that is needed to normalize discussions and raise awareness of the many pressing problems we as minorities face within a society. One that persistently dehumanizes us, debating our access to the same shared equal human rights available to our Cisgender counterparts, all whilst not listening to the voices and concerns raised by trans people in which such actions effect. For me Transgender Day of Visibility is just another equally important day in mine and so many others exhausting weekly routine of trying to highlight both the accomplishments, stories, fears and atrocities we endure while navigating endless barrages of hate for our mere existence.

The UK is sadly currently one of the most forefront western nations leading the way in transphobia as a result of its constant platforming of anti-trans movements in the media under the guise of gender criticals with 1 in 3 employers being less likely to hire a trans employee because of their trans status. This has often led to many including myself having faced dangerous situations such as poverty, long-term unemployability, and homelessness. I’m thankfully fortunate enough now after a long hard fought journey to work within the games industry, which alongside tech is one of the few fields in this country that we can work in and feel remotely safe to some capacity. That's why, you are far more likely to encounter someone who is trans or non-binary within this industry than any other career sector. Therefore, it brings me not only joy but a much needed relief to see the industry taking steps in the right direction towards supporting us as employees. Yet the progress cannot stop here, there is still much that can be done.

The Transgender community is a minority and requires colleagues and employers to stand up for structural change to combat the active oppression we are facing alongside further developing support structures to ensure the happiness, safety, physical and mental wellbeing of all trans and non-binary employees. It cannot be on the shoulders of the trans community to pioneer this change alone.

It is heart-warming to know when someone feels happy and safe to work, yet as well what Abbie highlighted towards the end is so true - supporting transgender and gender diverse people is vital to creating further positive and inclusive impact in the games industry but it is not something that can be done alone by any one community. Alice Cooper (She/Her), member of Ukie's first cohort for the Members EDI Committee shares with us why we should all be trans allies:

Without allies, marginalised people can be made to believe that the bigots are shouting loudest and that they are alone in their fight to live safely and happily as their authentic selves. This is particularly true for our trans communities, who are facing some of the harshest forms of hatred and violence, simply because of who they are, in our world today. 

This makes the choice to be a trans ally an ever more powerful one - we need to drown out the prejudice and spread joy, information and empowerment. We need to share the burden of emotional labour it takes to call out transphobia when we encounter it. We need to be the change we want to see in the world. 

Being a trans ally might mean starting with small but incredibly impactful steps like normalising pronouns on your LinkedIn page and in your email signature. You can also call out gendered language and offer gender neutral alternatives. If, for example, people are referring to a stranger as ‘he’, you can suggest using ‘they’ instead. It’s hard to be what you can’t see, so why not start sharing trans positive news stories and TV shows with your networks? 

Cultural shift takes millions of people doing things differently every day. Let’s stand up together this International Transgender Day of Visibility and carry allyship into our everyday actions.

Check out some Trans ally and support resources suggested by Abbie and Alice below: 

In addition, if you wish to support transgender & gender diverse creators while continuing to educate yourself on trans issues, below is a list of content creators working to help trans people - some of whom play video games and engage with industry: