‘Why theatre is a safe haven for me and other trans and non-binary youth’

As we celebrate International Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) this Sunday (31 March), I wanted to spotlight a part of my life that I hold very close to my heart; theatre and the people I’ve met through it.

In a world that is still often so fearful of trans people and discriminates against them, theatre provides an outlet for self-expression, advocacy, and acceptance. For many people, theatre or film is likely the first time you’ll meet a trans person, and seeing people like you being happy, even if on a stage, is inspiring and beautiful. Theatres provide the spaces where we can be seen, share our stories and in a small way, change the world.

A little about me: I am 21, non-binary and go by they/them pronouns. I came out as such in my first year of uni. Back then, I was studying on a foundation year with the intention of going into computer science, but my passion has always been in theatre, so I joined many societies focusing on theatre, film, and comedy. 

It was the people in these societies who ended up being some of my closest and most supportive friends. It’s in these societies that you could be who you are without apology and escape from the outside world for a while at least and just spend time with people who share the same interests as you and support you. It was these friends who showed me I could follow my passion rather than play life safely, so last year, I made the switch to studying what I love: theatre.

Mermaids youth ambassador Benedict Case. (Supplied)

Theatre is so strongly intertwined with the LGBTQ+ community that it is a safe haven for so many trans youth. Through shows that bring our stories to life on otherwise unattainable levels, they show glimpses into our lives, showing the struggles and challenges we face but, more importantly, the acceptance and joy that comes with being trans too. It allows audiences who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to connect with us and stand with us afterwards. 

It’s not just watching shows either, but youth theatres and societies have been some of my favourite experiences in this community. I’ve been fortunate in every group I’ve had the pleasure to be in, being full of like-minded, supportive, friendly people who made me feel safe and seen. It’s in these spaces that trans youth find the people who accept and support them, holding them up so that they can grow and be seen.

As we commemorate Trans Day of Visibility, let’s celebrate the transformative impact of theatre on the lives of trans youth. From building communities, we can feel safe in, to advocating for change and telling our stories, theatre plays a vital role in empowering transgender individuals to embrace their identities and make their voices heard.

That’s why theatre is so close to me and why it’s so important to the trans youth of today.

Benedict is a youth ambassador for Mermaids, which has been supporting trans, non-binary and gender-diverse children, young people and their families since 1995. You can support their work here.

The post ‘Why theatre is a safe haven for me and other trans and non-binary youth’ appeared first on PinkNews | Latest lesbian, gay, bi and trans news | LGBTQ+ news.