Transgender Day of Visibility

By Lewis Reay and Carol Shepherd (From Seeds June – July 2024)

This year Transgender Day of Visibility fell on Easter Sunday. It always falls on 31 March but this year it seemed particularly fitting as Jesus was coming out of the tomb in resurrection.

Building on the successes of last year, this year we held an event to celebrate transgender joy, mark the first birthday of Resisting Transphobia in Edinburgh (RTiE), and listen to speakers from local transgender community and campaigning organisations.

RTiE is a community-based organisation which collaborates with progressive organisations, champions trans liberation, joy and a safer future for trans youth, and aims to foster unity within the transgender community and beyond. AUC provides meeting space for RTiE and several members of AUC regularly attend. Find out more about them at We had a diverse cross-section of around 70 people at the event. For some, this was their first time in our building. This provided a safe space to mark our collective achievements and find energy to continue in the action towards transgender liberation.

Vic Valentine from Scottish Trans spoke about their work, and the current climate of transphobia in Scotland and Edinburgh in particular. Kit from RTiE spoke about how the group came into being after anti-trans speaker Posie Parker held a rally in Glasgow in February 2023, and the realisation that counter-protestors needed support to keep themselves safe from far-right elements. This was in the context of the murder of Brianna Ghey on 11 February that year.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence spoke about their work as a group of radical drag nuns, who have been LGBTQ community activists since 1979. We had spoken word poetry from Amy-Jo Philip and Lewis Reay, with work written specially for this Transgender Day of Visibility, and Laurence Wareing played a selection of wonderful show tunes. Several local clergy were present, as was the Revd Lindsey Sanderson, Moderator of the Scotland Synod of the URC.

Ashley also made a wonderful rainbow cake to celebrate RTiE’s oneyear anniversary and a very excited Leslie Cunningham was invited to blow out the candles, making us all smile with a jig of joy in the sanctuary!

February also saw Our Tribe mark LGBT History Month with a Human Library organised by Maxwell. It proved a rich learning experience as we walked in the shoes of others and listened to stories of suffering and redemption. This was followed by a time of eating cakes and partaking in a rather challenging quiz run by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. (So challenging that the winning team scored 5/20!)

The evening was given over to an Open Mic event compered by Carol (who also premiered her stand-up routine), and featuring Steve’s remarkable storytelling in highly expressive Scots Gaelic, Bill’s Ministry of Magic (especially the sock trick!), Christian’s vocal and guitar performance of well-loved numbers by Joan Osborne and Billy Eilish, and an impromptu rendition of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by some assorted Sisters!

AUC also provided a safe space and place of quiet reflection for the queer community on 6 April, during a demonstration on The Mound against trans rights, held by radical feminist group Let Women Speak. A counter demonstration was organised by RTiE involving singing, dancing and music. Trans siblings and allies had the choice to attend the rally or be with us at AUC. It was pleasing to see a good number make use of the latter.

Following feedback from the queer community, AUC plans to host another Open Mic event, alongside further collaborations with RTiE and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, so watch this space!