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Trans people and their rights are increasingly under attack in the UK. It’s been inspirational to watch Not A Phase, a trans-led grassroots charity, grow.

I talked to Danielle St James, Chief Executive of Not A Phase, for Trans Day of Visibility.

Why is Trans Day of Visibility important to her?

It’s about listening to the systematic problems we face. There’s never been a more important time for trans people to have a day of visibility, when anti-trans sentiment is at an all-time high. To those outside of our community we often remain a faceless bunch and it’s really important we get our chance to remind people that we’re here, we’ve always been here and always will.

What are the greatest challenges facing trans people in the UK?

An absolute failed healthcare system, which does not serve us in the way it is needed. Need greatly outweighs supply. That is going to take massive reform to work towards a brighter future. Also, the way in which our community is being used as a political pawn. This feeds through into mainstream media. We’ve seen that tactic used with other marginalised groups throughout history. Gay men were vilified in the media and by government in the wake of the AIDS epidemic. It’s almost verbatim now. The numbers speak for themselves in terms of hate crime, extreme poverty, homelessness, joblessness and family exile.

Do you have three tips for how we can all be better allies to trans people?

It’s about active allyship. There’s an opportunity to do the learning. We have an abundance of resources to learn about what is happening, so that would be tip number one. Tip number two would be “see something, say something” in that we are not in most spaces. When there are negative situations, we need people to speak up on our behalf. Number three is that we are going to create change with our movement, by empowering other people and letting them see how powerful their own voices are. Allies have power in using their platform. There are gate capped spaces where we don’t have access to create the change.

Tell us about the latest projects at Not A Phase?

We’re entering our fourth year of operation. We recently ran our first national campaign and we are solely here as a place of joy. Our campaign showed trans adults thriving and really happy. We’re around you and are living people. It brought the humanity back into the conversation. We’re focused on expanding what we’re able to do and getting into areas where there aren’t resources at the moment.

Do you have a short message for our readers?

I would come back to allyship. I just hope that people can understand the potential of their own platform, their own voice and they feel able to pass on that message.