You may not have heard of Sarah O’Connell before, but she’s without question one of the hardest working, self made talk show hosts and presenters on YouTube.
Via her YouTube channel, O’Connell, a London native, has interviewed some the biggest names in the entertainment industry as one of the first openly transgender women to host her own chat show. Annually, Miss O’Connell invites celebrities who identify across the spectrum to celebrate and empower the transgender community on Transgender Day of Visibility, and this year, she was joined on video by luminaries across film, television, radio, music, comedy, education and literary worlds to share their support in an hour and a half long special event.
Ben Stiller, Jerry O’Connell, Neil Gaiman, Boy George, Steve Guttenberg, Savage Garden’s Darren Hayes, Dan Reynold’s from Imagine Dragons, David Arquette and nearly 50 other notable figures came together in a one-of-a-kind feature to discuss the importance of trans visibility and what it means to them to be an ally. For several years now, Sarah O’Connell has been the only host to use her platform to present such a powerful and important message of affirmation to the transgender community.
Among the guests is author Tinu Abayomi-Paul who shares her remarkable journey to being a trans ally. “I wasn’t always a great trans ally, I guess. I tried to be. I started to listen, for a long time I listened. I learned some things and I befriended some people and I did some research. In that research what really sunk in was a quote by Fannie Lou Hamer who said ‘Nobody’s free until we’re all free...’ and I started thinking, what does that really mean if people think that freedom is being the person in charge or on top of the societal ranks. It can’t be that that’s freedom, that’s really just, as I like to say, ‘oppressor cosplay.’ Just wanting to be the top dog is not really getting you anything, especially when it ends up that you find out that there are other dogs topper than you who are still going to push you down. And a lot of times, with us not realizing that our oppression is related, we don’t come together outside the communities that we’re used to.” She concludes by saying, “There shouldn’t be ranks in society. None of us is better than the other. We’re all equally human, which means that we should be equally free- and not one at a time, and not these people go first and then somebody else get’s to be free- We should all be free, together, now.”
For so many, especially in this era that has distorted itself into such a hostile climate toward transgender people with the media war on transgender identities across the UK, and 32 US states introducing anti-trans bills that rob young people of their right to medical treatment and ostracize them from sports, to see a collective of high profile, influential people expressing their admiration, support and even acknowledge the outrageous misinformation campaigns we must endure daily, is a breath of fresh air.
Comedian Shappi Khorsandi speaks strongly against the radical feminists and TERFS whose onslaught of attacks about transgender women have made international headlines. “I’m a trans ally because I see no reason not to be!” She begins, adding, “I’m a cis woman, my experiences as a woman are going to be different to a trans woman, but we are women, together, nonetheless. Trans women are my sisters. I do not feel my rights are being violated by the existence of people who are trans. I do not feel threatened. I don’t understand the mysterious reasons when people are. I don’t sit comfortably with the idea of ‘Let’s debate all this!’ because it smacks of the 80’s and the 90’s where people used to think it was okay to debate whether or not being gay was natural, whether or not gay people would make good parents, should they be allowed to adopt, should they be allowed to get married, how does that impact heterosexual couples. The existence of trans women impacts me, as a cis woman, not a bit. And all the arguments I see online seem to boil down to ‘Yeah but would you let your daughter shower with one at the swimming pool?’ I would not let me daughter shower with ANY stranger.” She concludes her remarkable statement by saying, “I’m a trans ally because there is a minority of people in this country right now whose lives are being marred by vitriol, misunderstanding and prejudice… and it’s my duty and my privilege.”
For transgender people, hearing a tableau of positive voices offer understanding, kindness and encouragement is vital as often the tide of negativity and hateful rhetoric can be overwhelming.
Follow this link to subscribe to Sarah O’Connell’s YouTube Channel and watch all of her incredible interviews.
You can read more about Sarah, and how to support her work at her official website.
Happy Transgender Day Of Visibility.