International Transgender Day of Visibility is important for so many reasons. Imagine living in a world where 90% of the population doesn’t really believe you are real, that you are characters horrifically portrayed in films, or caricatures paraded on television screens across the globe like circus freaks for the amusement of an insensitive and oftentimes offensive audience. Many people get their first exposure to the trans community through the media which includes smear campaigns created by conservatives as a way to create fear and panic amongst the cisgender population. These leaders want their supporters to believe they are going to fix America by making sure those “men in dresses” do not hurt their women and children in the bathrooms. Making trans people easy targets of their “make America great again” campaign.
International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual event occurring on March 31 dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide. The holiday was founded by US-based transgender activist Rachel Crandall of Michigan in 2009 as a reaction to the lack of LGBTQ holidays celebrating transgender people. Crandall cited the frustration that the only well-known transgender-centered holiday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which mourns the murders of transgender people, but did not acknowledge and celebrate living members of the transgender community. The first International Transgender Day of Visibility was held on March 31, 2009.
Transgender people come from all walks of life – we are moms and dads, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters. We are your coworkers and your neighbors. We are 7-year-old children and we are 70-year-old grandparents. We are a diverse community representing all racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as faith backgrounds. International Transgender Day of Visibility celebrates transgender people around the globe and the courage it takes to live openly and authentically in a world that violently declares you have no place here, and where in many cases it can cost you your life.
I recently had a conversation with a woman whom I used to live with and who I once thought of as an ally because she posted this:
THE TRUE WAR ON WOMEN
I tried to explain to her how problematic this post is and that it further supports the fear and hate already rampant in this world towards trans people, but she just said it was “her opinion” and that I need to respect her “beliefs.” I share this because for the trans community, these are struggles we face daily. Many will never consider us “real,” and that we are somehow invading and harming their pleasant trans-free lives. They would love for us to crawl back into those horrible closets, denying who we are, but we won’t. We are here like we always have been, but we will no longer be silent, we will no longer be in the shadows, forced to the fringes of society, because we deserve so much more. So on this sacred day of visibility, let us shout out to the world, let us roar united, trans and ally, so they will know we are powerful, we are loved, we are valid, we are authentic, we are brave, and we are here to stay.
Kerri is currently studying film and television at the University of Southern California. Kerri was one of Point’s inaugural Community College Scholarship Recipients while attending Los Angeles City College. Read more about Kerri here.