This article was published on March 29th, 2021
Held annually on March 31st, International Transgender Day of Visibility celebrates transgender and non-binary people worldwide through acknowledgement and encourages them to live openly and authentically without malice. Advocates use the day to commemorate and raise awareness around violence and discrimination that trans people face. International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) is dedicated to celebrating transgender people, their many contributions to society and was launched in 2009 by transgender activist Rachel Crandall out of frustration from the amount of living transgender people that were overlooked within the queer community.
According to Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David, “Transgender and non-binary people face significant cultural, legal and economic challenges, but continue to bravely share their stories, boldly claim their seats at the table and tirelessly push equality forward. The transgender and non-binary community’s pride, power and resilience should be a lesson to us all.
As advocates, we must commit to learning together and building a world where every person can truly thrive. As we celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, we must never forget those who still feel invisible even in their own communities and who may live every day with fear of discrimination or violence, and we must resolve to fight for a world where every transgender and non-binary person is respected and protected.”
HRC honors the day and transgender people with a new video that features some of its trans and non-binary staff and volunteers as they discuss what being seen means, the power of transgender and non-binary voices and the many legislative hurdles in America facing the community. The transgender movement has grown significantly within the last few years because of the biases that some assume about the community.
Although there are holidays commemorating transgender people who have suffered or been murdered, International Transgender Day of Visibility places a spotlight on the positive aspects of what being transgender means and acts as a conduit for change in those that do not understand the community and what they stand for.
The Importance of Visibility
A spate of recent polls show that approximately 90% of Americans know of someone that is a member of the LGBTQ+ community that is lesbian, gay, or bisexual, but those numbers dip considerably when specifically applied to someone transgender – only 16% of Americans know someone that is trans.
This means that the majority of what they do learn is through the media, making it even more crucial that trans people tell their stories. Advocates in the community now include Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Jazz Jennings, Tiq Milan, Caitlyn Jenner, and many more – all of whom are bringing the stories and experiences of transgender people to audiences everywhere.
It should be noted, however, visibility alone is not enough – the ongoing struggles and violence facing transgender people globally demand continued advocacy and organizing from LGBTQ+ people and allies. GLAAD is one organization committed to leading and supporting advocacy for transgender people, ensuring the media treats transgender stories with dignity and respect.
Allies and those interested in allyship can learn more about GLAAD’s Transgender Media Program at glaad.org/transgender.
Follow and participate in the International Transgender Day of Visibility on social media using the hashtag #TDOV.
How are you commemorating International Transgender Day of Visibility? Let us know in the comments.