Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility. It is a day for celebrating transgender people, raising awareness, and showing support for the trans community.

What is visibility and why does it matter?
Visibility is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as: The state of being seen.
I’m speaking from a deeply personal perspective when I say that visibility and representation is enormously important. As a child of the 1970s, I grew up in the day before the Internet and social media. As a child, teen, and young adult I never saw anyone like me represented in the media.

Therefore despite knowing as a child that I didn’t feel like a girl, I didn’t understand that this was something other people felt. I didn’t know there was a word for what I was, and I didn’t know that there was anything I could do about it. The only transgender representation I ever saw in the media was of trans women. Therefore it never occurred to me that it was possible for someone to be FTM (female to male) transgender.
It wasn’t until I ‘saw’ a male transgender character in a fanfiction story that I finally started to make sense of the underlying feeling of unease and wrongness that had been my constant companion throughout my life.
Visibility matters, because it helps transgender people work out who they are, and know that they are not alone. And of course visibility also helps cisgender people to understand trans people better, and know how to be good allies.

Visibility isn’t just about individuals
Visibility isn’t all about individual trans people sharing their stories. Advocates are important and do a huge amount for raising awareness. But it’s important to remember that many trans people don’t want to be visible in that way. They may value their privacy and not wish disclose their history, or they may not live in a place or a situation where it would be safe for them to do so.
Visibility is also about positive representations in the media, in art, in books, in movies, and TV shows. In the queer romance genre, we’re seeing a huge increase in the number of books featuring transgender characters, this is a wonderful thing. Keep them coming!
If you would like to know more about trans issues this link is a good starting point:
If you’re questioning your own gender, you are not alone. Reach out, there are lots of people who will be willing to listen and help you find the resources and information that you need.

If you’d like to read a story with a transgender main character, my book, Starting from Scratch is free to download at Amazon this weekend. It’s part of a linked series but it can be read as a standalone because there are new main characters in each story.

Book cover for Starting From Scratch by Jay Northcote

Starting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.
Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.
It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

Length: 57,000 words approx.