Transgender Day of Visibility is March 31
By Isaac Ezra Jennings • J-Pride Program Coordinator
The first International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) was held on March 31, 2009, with the dual goal of celebrating transgender people, while also raising awareness of the discrimination we face around the world. The day’s founder, Rachel Crandall, did so in response to the lack of recognition of the transgender community’s contributions to society. Prior to this, the primary transgender-centered day was the Transgender Day of Remembrance (Nov. 20), which is a day of mourning those lost to transphobic violence. Along with the day of mourning, the transgender community needed a day of celebration, so Crandall made one.
It is tempting to say here that it is hard to be transgender. I think it is perhaps more accurate to say that it is challenging to be a transgender person living in a transphobic society. One half of TDoV’s dual focus is to raise awareness of the discrimination the trans community faces. Right now, there is a concerted effort throughout the United States and across the world to eradicate transgender identity, and transgender people along with it.
That said, TDoV is also a day of celebration, and even in these challenging and frightening times, there is still plenty to celebrate. Earlier this month, Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order to preserve the right of transgender people to access gender affirming healthcare. Also in March, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved bill HF146, which would prevent state officials from having to comply with the anti-LGBTQ laws of other states, effectively turning Minnesota into a trans refuge state. That bill was scheduled to go to the state Senate at the time of this writing. Other states are working to preserve trans rights as well.
I would like to wish everyone reading this a happy Transgender Day of Visibility, and to offer a few suggestions for how you might observe this day: Do some research and learn about some of the incredible transgender and gender non-conforming folks throughout history who have paved the way for our community. Write a letter or make a phone call to your representatives to share your feelings on supporting the transgender people in your life. Reach out to your transgender loved ones and let them know something that you appreciate about them. If you are transgender yourself, I invite you to indulge in celebrating your own incredible existence. This day is for us, and we have earned it.
Chag TDoV Sameach, and Shabbat Shalom!