Today, March 31, is International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day to recognize and empower transgender and nonbinary people around the world. It’s a day for allies and advocates to show up and support trans and nonbinary community members, although this should be celebrated daily. More than ever, transgender visibility is at an all-time high in media, politics, and sports worldwide.
Trans Day of Visibility was founded in 2009 by Michigan-based transgender activist Rachel Crandall. It was created as a day to celebrate the success of transgender and nonbinary people and their contributions to the LGBTQ+ community and the world at large. Prior to 2009, the only trans awareness came on November 20, which is Transgender Day of Remembrance where we remember those of us who have died from anti-trans violence/been murdered.
A recent poll states that about 11.3% of adult LGBTQ+ community members identify as transgender, but there is still not enough representation in the media depicting trans and nonbinary people in a positive light. With history-making shows like Pose, Veneno, and Transparent, the media has a lot of work to do to elevate storytelling and bring these unseen narratives to the forefront.
For great perspective, watch Disclosure on Netflix a documentary featuring leading trans creatives and thinkers as they share heartfelt perspectives and analysis about Hollywood’s impact on the trans community.
Over the last year, there has been major visibility and celebration in the trans community.
Trans celebrities like Elliot Page have come out and acted as both role models to and advocates for young trans people. Just last week, Dr. Rachel Levine was approved by the U.S. Senate to serve under President Joe Biden as the assistant U.S. health secretary becoming the first openly transgender person confirmed by the Senate.
Additionally, after years of pressure from the trans community and allies, Apple finally released a transgender Pride flag emoji. The emoji update, which was released with iOS 14.2, also addressed gender inequality in other subtle ways with more inclusive images. These included a man holding babies, a non-gendered wedding image, a female-presenting person in a tuxedo, and a male-presenting person in a bridal dress.
Another historic moment occurred today with U.S. President Joe Biden issuing the first-ever Presidential proclamation recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility.
Transgender rights are human rights — and I’m calling on every American to join me in uplifting the worth and dignity of transgender Americans. Together, we can stamp out discrimination and deliver on our nation’s promise of freedom and equality for all. #TransDayofVisibility
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 31, 2021
President Biden addresses in his proclamation:
In spite of our progress in advancing civil rights for LGBTQ+ Americans, too many transgender people — adults and youth alike — still face systemic barriers to freedom and equality. Transgender Americans of all ages face high rates of violence, harassment, and discrimination. Nearly one in three transgender Americans have experienced homelessness at some point in life. Transgender Americans continue to face discrimination in employment, housing, health care, and public accommodations. The crisis of violence against transgender women, especially transgender women of color, is a stain on our Nation’s conscience.
This comes just days after Arkansas became the first state to pass a bill which prohibits doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth after a vote in the state Senate.
Additionally, over 465 feminist leaders signed an open letter standing in solidarity with transgender women and girls, including Gloria Steinem, Regina King, Halle Berry, Selena Gomez, Chelsea Clinton, Gabrielle Union, Laverne Cox, Janelle Monáe, and more. Signatories of the letter are speaking up as, with, and for transgender and nonbinary people to raise awareness about the ongoing anti-transgender violence, legislation, misinformation, and rhetoric targeting trans women and girls.
The letter reads, in part:
It is time for the long history of assaults (legislative, physical, social, and verbal) against trans women and girls to end. For far too long, lawmakers have worked to strip trans women of their civil liberties—in 2021, once again, we’ve seen a wave of bigoted governmental policies and legislation. Many of these laws target the rights of girls to play school sports or criminalize doctors for treating trans youth and their families. The women’s movement has seen doctors targeted before for providing us with necessary medical care and services, and we refuse to let youth endure that now.
Still, transgender and nonbinary visibility must be daily practice. It goes beyond acknowledging a group of people on a single day. The work needs to remain steadfast and strong.
The National Center for Transgender Equality and The Trevor Project have full lists of resources to educate you on how you can help to keep transgender and nonbinary lives visible and safe every day. This includes the basics on gender, how to be an ally, how to interact with the trans and gender-nonconforming community, speaking up, and changing business and academic environments to build equity for trans lives.
Here are some posts from people to follow who are putting in the work:
This #TransWeekOfVisibility, we will be sharing positive affirmations from 35 members of Congress who support trans rights!
— National Center for Transgender Equality (@TransEquality) March 29, 2021
Actress and activist, Shakina Nayfack (Difficult People, Connecting, Transparent) has put together a resource list for trans youth.
— Shakina (@Shakeenz) March 31, 2021
— TransLatin@ Coalition (@TransLatina_C) March 31, 2021
— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) March 31, 2021
— Gottmik (@gottmik) March 31, 2021
We have elevated trans women and girls in a joint sign-on letter earlier today.
This is NOT to the exclusion of trans men and boys, nor our nonbinary loved ones, whom we love, support, elevate, and encourage, all day and every day.
We see you.
We love you.
We hear you.#TDOV
— PFLAG National (@PFLAG) March 31, 2021
If you live in:
Then there has been an anti-trans bill introduced in your state in 2021.
On this #TransDayOfVisibility, let's uplift each other — but also commit to action. Call your legislators.
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 31, 2021