Our Trans Joy series kicks off the New Year by sharing what’s making 23 trans and non-binary people hopeful for 2022.
While it can sometimes be difficult to feel positive as we go into the third year of a pandemic accompanied by a relentlessly transphobic media and a worrying rise in global fascism, in our daily lives there are still glimmers of hope.
Trans and non-binary people have a lot to look forward to this year: Some of us are finally coming out after years in the closet, starting conversations about transphobia in academia, pushing for change in trans healthcare, or setting up anti-racist trans support funds. Some are looking forward to a haircut, being closer to family, or spending more time with friends.
From big things to small, there is always hope.
Finding trans joy in transition, protest and art
Caitlin: “I’m a middle-aged (40-something) trans woman living in Northern England who first came out almost 20 years ago and was effectively forced back into the closet by the reaction of my family and the difficulty of transitioning. I’ve been entirely in the closet from 2004 until late last year.
“I’m excited and hopeful because 2022 is going to be the year I transition. This is partly a personal thing, about how much I have grown in confidence since I was in my 20s, but it’s also because I feel that the world is a much better place now for trans people. Despite the loudness of some LGBT-phobes in very prominent places in the media the attitudes of regular everyday people, as I have witnessed myself living in a not-at-all-progressive Northern town, have changed remarkably over that time. It feels as if trans people are accepted, welcomed and just treated as regular everyday people in a way that just wasn’t the case in the 2000s.
“So, I’m transitioning, and I’m excited, proud and hopeful that by the end of 2022 I will be living as myself surrounded by fully supportive friends and family.”
Anonymous, Brighton: “In 2021, I and my Sussex Uni peers kicked up enough fuss about TERFism in academia to get the whole nation talking, and I couldn’t be more proud of Brighton’s trans community.
“We’ve started a long-overdue conversation about humanity and dignity that I want to continue throughout 2022 and beyond.”
Samantha: “I am a native American (Cherokee and Ottawa) trans woman from Oklahoma. I am looking forward to gender-confirmation surgery in July after postponing my original surgery date. Thirty years of waiting and being miserable will finally come to an end.”
Mary-Emma, a 45-year-old trans femme artist based in Plymouth, she/her: “Due to the extent of my traumas, and the difficulty in accepting my transness, I developed schizophrenia (dissociative identity disorder) during my transition in the spring of 2019. I no longer have a single thread of consciousness, but several, who take care of me. It’s difficult at times but I, in plural, survived. I made it – and so, whatever next?
“I’m hopeful that this summer I’m going to step into my art in a way and with a confidence that I’ve never possessed before – I’m going to tear things up! I have no idea where my art and life will take me, but this is my moment to live free and to shine. And I simply cannot wait.”
‘I finally found a GP I can trust’
Kass, 22, they/he/it: “After years of being denied transitional healthcare because of my disabilities, I found a trans GP and finally feel able to trust the person with my health in their hands.
“I’m going into 2022 with more hope, dignity and less pain than I’ve ever had, and I want to hear more stories of trans doctors’ work this year – they are an absolutely vital voice in our healthcare system.”
Anna, 23, non-binary, Welsh and currently living in England: “I have BPD [borderline personality disorder] so everything is a lot for me. The thing I’m mostly looking forward to this year is being able to dress how I want more freely. I started a new job last month and they’re more relaxed than my old work.
“I also really cannot wait to get my hair cut short. I’ve been wanting to do it for ages.”
“So many of us thought that we were ‘The only one’ when we came out (I did the maths, and statistically speaking, every trans Gypsy in the UK would be able to fit into the average village sports hall, with a bit of room to spare) so being able to make a place (both online and IRL) where we can find each other easily is a gift.”
Anonymous, 27, in Yorkshire, non-binary and disabled: “I’m in my first year of training to be a nurse, something I really had to fight for because of misconceptions around my disability. I wanted to do this to make healthcare better for trans and non-binary folks and I’m out here absolutely loving every second.
“I’m pushing for change and I can see it slowly happening.”
Challenging the trans healthcare crisis and supporting trans migrants
Eva, she/her: “For me, it’s the judicial review [legal proceedings that have been launched against the NHS over ‘lengthy and unlawful’ delays for trans healthcare].
“As an older trans person (the wrong side of 40) I am really hopeful that the case can really help make a dent on the current NHS system, especially as I know there are so many like me who came out late in life and are now struggling to play catch-up on a personal level.”
Adam, an autistic and disabled enby living on benefits: “The thing I am most looking forward to in 2022 is being more comfortable with myself as a recently out trans person and buying myself more gender-affirming clothes.”
Renan, Adena, Ale, Ivy and Sun from the House of B Poderosa in Switzeland: “In June 2020, we started the Trans Safety Emergency Fund after we found two trans immigrant women living on the streets of Zürich. Initially, the fund wasn’t meant to be big but it took over our expectations and now in 2022 we are a legal institution that has supported trans people living in Switzerland, Brazil and Germany and we are going after designers, lawyers, social workers and an accountant with aims to grow bigger and more stable.
“We are the first trans-led and anti-racist (four out of five members are trans, and three out of five are BIPoC) trans fund in Switzerland and we are looking into 2022 with sparkles in our eyes that we will be able to do so much more than we already did now that we have seen the impact we are about to cause here and abroad.”
Goals for legal gender recognition
Lee, they/them: “I’m waiting to hear about my Gender Recognition Certificate right now. My partner and I had our wedding ceremony and honeymoon already, but we couldn’t get everything sorted in time, so we’re waiting on that.
“And I’m looking forward to seeing the friends, old and new, that have come out in the last year, grow more and more into themselves. I love seeing that!
“I don’t really know what the wider world and all its transphobes will have in store. But close to home, there is an awful lot of joy to be had – those are just a few things!”
Dalton Harrison, trans man, he/him: “I was recently diagnosed with dyslexia and learning difficulties. I am an ex-offender that has started a criminology university degree, and this year, I am about to release my first solo poetry collection, The Boy Behind The Wall.
“I am soon having top surgery after having lost five stone. My trans joy moment was my best friend’s 10-year old coming out as non-binary. I have just sent them a non-binary flag for their bedroom.”
‘I’m hopefully getting a powerchair and I’m looking forward to the increased freedom’
Rouke, he/him/it/its, autistic and disabled trans dude, Spanish immigrant living in Leicester: “I’m a current manual wheelchair user, but this year I’m hopefully getting a powerchair, and I’m looking forward to the increased freedom and decorating it with some cute queer and trans themed stuff.”
Leo, 22, neurodivergent trans artist from Brighton: “I love to speak about trans joy. Personally I’m excited for 2022 to spend more time with my trans partners and to experiment with androgyny. And I’m excited become more confident as a wheelchair use and to be proud of being disabled.”
Shawny, they/them: “I’m a disabled, non-binary, neurodivergent creator and community manager for a small indie games studio. I only got into the industry in June 2021 and something I am hopeful for and looking forward to in 2022 is the release of the first game that I’m working on.
“I’m also looking forward to continuing to grow my own personal community through content creation.”
Trans joy in the ‘boringly ordinary’ things
Cait, 51, trans woman: “I live in Suffolk and I’ve had kidney failure for the past 37 years – I’ve had three transplants, years and years of dialysis – which I currently manage at home, on my own. I started my transition about four years ago, but it coincided with a period of ill health – no sooner had I started to get better when lockdown happened and I was effectively locked away for the best part of a year.
“So anyway, I’ve been working hard to make a few local friends and keep in touch with those further afield and in 2022 I’m just looking forward to being able to meet up with friends and do boringly ordinary things like go for coffee, a meal, dancing – just be ‘normal’ again!
“The other biggie this year is my first appointment with an endocrinologist at Charing Cross gender clinic later this month – after just the usual 42 month wait.”
Luke, he/him: “I’m a trans man who is disabled, neurodivergent and working class. In 2022 I’m hopeful for a change in legislation to make self-ID legal in the UK.”
Ama, they/them: “I am trans non-binary, neurodiverse, currently living alone, and have been [working from home] and far away from my family during the entire pandemic.
“In 2022 I am going to be moving back closer to my family in Wiltshire and buying my first home instead of renting, so that is what I’m looking forward to.”