International Transgender Day of Visibility
On March 31, the world marks International Transgender Day of Visibility (#TDOV). This day celebrates the positive aspects of what it means to be transgender, while direct action is taken to change perspectives toward the transgender community through advocacy and campaigning. This day is also dedicated to the contributions, progress and victories of transgender and non-binary people, while shining a light on the work still needed to protect trans lives.
In 1999, the Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded as a way to memorialize transgender people that the world has lost. This got Rachel Crandall, executive director of Transgender Michigan, wondering why there isn’t a holiday that celebrates their lives. In 2009, Rachel created an event that featured speakers, poets and entertainment, and which has grown to become the worldwide movement we witness today.
For members of the trans community, everyday life is often met with stigma and discrimination. According to the Trans PULSE Project, most trans people have experienced some type of “everyday transphobia,” with 96% reported being labelled as “not being normal”; 73% had been made fun of for being trans; and 78% reported their family had been hurt or embarrassed. These daily indignities take a toll on a person’s mental health and wellbeing.
The fact remains that trans community members are often camouflaged in society, either from fear of discrimination or by choice. This invisibility, however, increases the vulnerability of the community by allowing discrimination, violence and other problems to go unnoticed, unreported or assumed to be non-existent.
The aim of International Transgender Day of Visibility is to increase awareness. The more visible this community becomes, the more the rest of society will learn to embrace, include, and celebrate them, and the less often transgender people will be discriminated against.
Please join us in celebrating diversity and to make progress toward a future where transgender individuals will have the freedom and safety to be who they are, no matter what.