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‘We may feel powerless, but far from it’: The trans activist using pop culture to create change

Opinion: Jude Guaitamacchi, the founder of the Trans+ Solidarity Alliance explains how celebrities are helping fight for trans+ rights

By Jude Guaitamacchi

Jude Guaitamacchi, the founder of the Trans+ Solidarity Alliance, Trans Youth Are Loved
Jude Guaitamacchi, the founder of the Trans+ Solidarity Alliance (Image: Kit Oates/Attitude)

With trans lives being dragged into culture war politics, politicians routinely airing transphobic views, and anti-trans reporting in the media rising by 217% in just 5 years, hate is becoming louder every day. For trans+ youth, anti-trans rhetoric has become unavoidable.

This year trans+ youth have been the target, with attacks on their access to safe and appropriate education as well as on their access to gender-affirming care.

So, what is that doing to young minds? In 2021 research by UK-based LGBTQ+ youth charity, Just Like Us found that 33% of young people asked had seen transphobic bullying than non-LGBTQ+ people and 15% of trans+ youth never feel optimistic about their future.

Here’s where the Trans Youth Are Loved campaign comes in. It’s a project led by myself, Nancy Kelley, the Executive Director of DIVA, and Kit Morey, VP of Commissioning at Paramount. The purpose of the campaign is to galvanise allies, particularly those with big platforms, to give some hope to trans+ youth and to encourage the wider public to further amplify a message of love and solidarity.

What started as a few videos from the likes of Emma Bunton and Dannii Minogue has seen celebrities who have never publicly spoken out in support of the trans+ community before showing up in support including TV celebs like the dogfather, Graeme Hall. 

To see the campaign grow and encourage other public figures to come forward and be vocal, has been a truly heart-warming experience. Even as a trans adult, it’s helped me to channel all pain and frustration into something positive.

“Working on the Trans Youth Are Loved campaign is incredibly energising “

Our online videos have now been seen by millions of people all over the world, and we have had a huge real-life shoutout as the crowds in Trafalgar Square at Pride in London chanted ‘Trans youth are loved!’. The Trans Youth Are Loved campaign is now the biggest shout-out of solidarity for trans+ youth ever. 

Many young trans+ people are isolated and alone, some have been kicked out of their homes, and some are forced to face their bullies every single day at school. One short message from a celebrity icon could give them the shred of hope they need to keep carrying on.

That’s what we want for these children. We may not be able to change the world they’re living in right now, but we can cheer them on, encouraging them to hold on in the face of darkness until we can all see brighter days. 

With so much transphobia in the world, we may feel powerless, but we are far from it. There are so many ways for all of us can work towards the change we need to see in the world. Focusing on pop culture is proving to be a high-impact, high-engagement tool for creating change, and working on the Trans Youth Are Loved campaign is incredibly energising for all of us.

As a friend reminded me, love is healing, love is a source of motivation, love wins hearts and minds, and love is what trans youth could do with a little more of right now. Join us and let’s make love the loudest voice!