Making Transgender Day of Visibility Meaningful

Main image courtesy of United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

By Aarushi Pant

Today is March 31, 2022, which is Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV). For many people who aren’t part of the LGBTQ community, and even for some who are, TDoV isn’t something that they’re familiar with. 

However, with increasing violence against LGBTQ folks, particularly those who are members of the transgender community, an onslaught of anti-trans bills and legislation, and more and more public discourse about the lives and rights of trans people, TDoV is more crucial than ever. 

Trans people are valid, and they are worthy of joy, love and respect. Today is about celebrating the trans people in your life, as well as the trans people around the world who wake up and have to fight just to be themselves every single day. Today is also about honoring the many transgender lives that have been lost to senseless violence at the hands of transphobic bigots. Today is about honoring the strength, bravery, and dedication of the transgender community around the world. 

What does it mean to be trans?

First things first, transgender is an umbrella term that can be used to describe anyone who does not fit into the “traditional” gender binary of male and female. This includes individuals who identify as genderqueer, non-binary, gender nonconforming, genderfluid, and more.

umbrella of trans & gender diverse, trans women, trans men, genderqueer, non-binary, genderfluid, agender, sistergirls & brotherboys
The transgender umbrella encompasses a wide range of gender identities that are not limited to just trans men and women. Image courtesy of TransHub.

Some widely-known trans activists include Laverne Cox, Elliot Page, Geena Rocero, and Indya Moore, to name just a few. Historically, trans people have played a major role in the LGBTQ movement, including at the Stonewall riots of 1969, which is commonly cited as the start of the LGBTQ rights movement in the United States. 

The contributions of trans people are often overlooked, and they face discrimination, prejudice, and even violence as a result of their identities. But they persist, and they continue to tirelessly work to make the world a better, safer place for LGBTQ people of all backgrounds and identities. 

What can I do to celebrate TDoV?

The first thing you should do to celebrate TDoV is to reach out to any trans people in your life. Remind them that they are loved, worthy, and valid, especially in the wake of anti-trans sentiment throughout the United States. Listen to their stories and uplift them. Let their voices be heard. 

Marsha P. Johnson and other activists at Stonewall
Marsha P. Johnson was a self-identified drag queen and LGBTQ rights activist who was heavily involved in the Stonewall uprising. Image courtesy of BBC

The next thing you can do is watch some movies or shows that feature trans folk! Here are a few I recommend checking out:

  • Paris is Burning (1990)
  • Tangerine (2015)
  • The Danish Girl (2015)
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Pose
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
  • Tales of the City

There are definitely a lot more out there, so don’t be afraid to explore!

More tangible actions

Today isn’t the only day that you should be putting effort into creating a safe space for celebrating and honoring the achievements of trans people. You should always try to start conversations about trans rights and visibility (although this doesn’t mean that you should talk over trans people and invalidate their experiences), stand up for trans rights whenever possible, and try to inform and educate yourself on ongoing issues impacting the trans community. You can also: 

  • donate to local trans organizations and individuals
  • vote for candidates that support trans rights 
  • contact your elected officials to encourage them to create safe spaces for trans people
  • support, empower and uplift trans people. Always. 

In conclusion, happy Transgender Day of Visibility! Go out there and make trans people feel loved, supported and empowered! We appreciate all of our cisgender allies so much. ❤

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