Trans Day of Visibility takes place on March 31 each year, to celebrate trans and non-binary people, and raise awareness of discrimination faced by trans people worldwide.

Sasha Taylor, from Guatemala, went through the asylum system in the UK a few years ago. She has kindly shared her thoughts on how the asylum system could be improved and why it is so important to celebrate Trans Day of Visibility.

What would you like to see changed in the current UK asylum system to make it more inclusive of trans people?

Firstly, the waiting time to give us an answer to our asylum application. I waited more than two years to receive an answer, which made my depression, anxiety and post trauma disorder so much worse. I received counselling, group therapy, and NHS medication. Lots of people don’t get even that support. I have been able to manage my mental health, and now have a healthy life. I am very grateful for that, but there are still moments when my mental health suffers. This means it can take longer to re-integrate into society and improve ourselves personally and professionally. We need to be good to ourselves, and stay positive, so we can look forward and move on.

Second, trans people seeking asylum need access to education. For example, English classes will help people seeking asylum integrate into society. It’s important to note that 99% of LGBT refugees, especially trans people, do not have access to education. They face discrimination because of their gender identity, and lack opportunities, economical resources or official Identification to make the most of educational resources. It took me one year and six months for a school to accept me so I could study English language, and I had to ask for the intervention of a social worker to help me get a place. It is important to understand that learning the language of the country helps you develop your confidence and integration in the society; it opens doors to a better life.

Third, we need more access to support workers. They inform us so much, and teach us about our rights and obligations in this country. I was able to have one, because of my type of case, but I know many people do not receive that support and they don’t know anything about those topics. It is necessary to recognise our own human rights, but they also go hand in hand with our obligations and responsibilities too, and that makes us all be a better citizen. It is really important to engage with that because it makes us all more tolerant, and we can move forward together as a society. It can help show politicians that we are human beings, rational and intelligent, that we are not ignorant, or animals that they can move or send from one place to another. Politicians, and society, need more empathy and sensitivity.

A transgender woman posing in front of a flag.

Why do you think it is important to celebrate Trans Day of Visibility?

In many countries, lots of LGBT people are murdered each year. This is especially true for trans people, as they often have a more visible identity. They are particularly subject to violence, attacks and murders.

Trans Day of Visibility is so important, but we need more than a one-day celebration. It is an opportunity for politicians, society, and the world in general, to know that trans people are human beings like any other, 365 days a year. We have physical, intellectual and emotional capacities like anyone else. If we are given the right tools to live our lives, and the necessary protection of our human rights, we can be part of this society, and we can develop and move forward with equality, respect, and peace.

That’s why it is necessary for politicians to make new legislation, and adapt the laws, so there is justice, inclusion, tolerance and respect for all. It would create a healthier, safer, more inclusive, and humane social environment for all of us, and future generations of trans people, in this country and anywhere in the world.