This article was published on March 25th, 2020
An important event of the LGBTQ calendar is International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV). Since 2009, TDOV has been a celebration of trans people that happens every March 31. The purpose of the TDOV is to celebrate trans people, raise awareness of trans people and their issues, including the discrimination they face around the globe.
TDOV was founded by Rachel Crandall, an American transgender activist from Michigan. Crandall was responding to what she felt was a lack of recognition of transgender people in the LGBT community. Essentially, the only significant transgender oriented awareness day was Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors trans people, is ultimately more of a day of mourning. TDOV is meant to be exciting and celebratory, to honor how trans people have communicated to society and commemorate the living who need our support.
The Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER) has taken over TDOV and kept it going these last four years. Each year, the TSER presents a new theme for TDOV. This year’s theme, “surviving, thriving”, was created by TSER volunteer, Lily Zheng. You will probably start to see it trending under the hashtag #TransThriving. It is meant to acknowledge the number of major achievements transgender people have accomplished in 2019. This includes surviving and fighting against Trumpism which used transgender issues as a political foil and making positives strides in how people think about and experience gender.
The goal of TDOV isn’t just for trans people to come together and celebrate themselves. Much like pride, it’s also a way to reach out to potential allies and gain visibility so that trans people can mobilize globally to fight oppression. There are lots of things you can do to be a transgender ally on March 31, 2020. The TSER website (transstudent.org) has made a whole slew of suggestions:
- Go to Local TDOV Events
If you visit the TSER website, you will find a robust list of TDOV events across the world. Considering the current COVID-19 pandemic, many events will be held virtually or rescheduled; review the website for the latest information.
- Learn About Trans History
One major problem facing all LGBTQ communities is the lack of knowledge over how much our members have communicated to society. The trans community is especially prone to this because it has never been very safe for trans people to be out. Take time to learn about amazing trans people, including Jenny Bailey, James Barry, or S. Bear Bergman. The more you see these people have always existed and contributed to the world, the more it normalizes trans people.
- Support Trans Activist Organizations
Trans organizations receive only a small margin of grants that are set aside for LGBTQ organizations. Most of them gain the majority of their funding from small donations that come from allies. Consider donating to a local trans organization this March 31.
- Familiarize Yourself with the Gender Unicorn
Gender identity can be very confusing. It’s no one’s fault, and you can’t be blamed if you don’t know. There is just a lot of information to take in and learn. The gender unicorn is a tool TSER has been using to teach the differences between gender identity, gender expression, sex, physical attraction, and emotional attachment.
- Don’t Out Your Trans Friends
A lot of people will probably want to give shout outs to their friends this TVOD. Just remember, not every trans person is out, some may only be out to you or a select few. Members of the LGBTQ community should know the importance of letting someone have agency over coming out. Just be respectful and check with your friends before you make them the center of your celebration.