5 Reasons Why We Celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility

03.01.2024

International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), celebrated on March 31st, is an opportunity to uplift and amplify the lives and voices of transgender people everywhere. Today, we’ll talk about why this day is so important, and some ideas about how to mark the occasion with your child. 

Rachel Crandall, transgender activist and Executive Director of Transgender Michigan, created TDOV in part to recognize the contributions of transgender people in our communities, but also out of frustration that the only day of recognition focused on trans people was the Transgender Day of Remembrance. 1

Crandall saw the need for a shift in focus. Instead of always amplifying the tragedy of trans lives lost to violence, she wanted to celebrate the bravery and resilience of transgender people living their lives and thriving. At the same time, TDOV is an opportunity to call attention to the obstacles that trans people still face.

Let’s talk about some of the reasons TDOV is so important:

1. It’s the one day a year that celebrates transgender people all over the world.

The Human Rights Campaign estimates that there are over 1.6 million trans youth and adults living in the United States, representing diverse ethnic backgrounds and faith traditions. It’s important to note that while transgender people and issues have gotten a lot of negative attention in recent years, transgender people are not new. They have been around for centuries and historical evidence of transgender people exists from as far back as 5000 B.C.

Transgender people are your family, friends, neighbors, and community members, and our job as allies is to make them feel loved and accepted. The message shouldn’t be just of tolerance, but that we’re glad you’re here and we love you just as you are.

2. Anti-trans legislation is still on the rise

So far this year (2024), there are currently 457 active anti-trans bills being considered across the United States. 4 anti-trans bills have already passed this year and in 2023, 87 anti-trans bills passed. Oklahoma alone has 59 anti-trans bills under consideration this year, the highest of all the states. 

Raising awareness about transgender people is crucial to overcoming fear and misunderstanding and defeating these laws. 

3. Reading about the lives of other transgender people is inspiring and hopeful for trans youth and their loved ones

TDOV is a time to share stories from and about transgender people on social media and the news. If your child is transgender, think about how empowering it is for them to read about other people like them. 

Reading positive and uplifting stories about the myriad things transgender people are doing right now, today, gives transgender youth hope for their own futures. In a world where the misconceptions and misinformation about transgender people run rampant, this hope is crucial. 

4. It helps lift the stigma often associated with transgender people

On the news you often hear about people who don’t want transgender people to be able to use bathrooms or play sports that correspond to their gender identity. They tend to characterize transgender people as predators who would put others at risk. This negative stereotype is perpetuated every time a new anti-trans bill is introduced.

The truth is that there’s no evidence that trans people pose a danger or a threat to children or other vulnerable groups. In fact, the opposite is true. According to The Williams Institute, transgender people are over four times more likely than cisgender* people to experience violent victimization, including rape, sexual assault, and aggravated or simple assault.

By talking about the ordinary lives of transgender people, we can show the world that they’re just trying to find their way like everyone else. We can call attention to the fact that they need our support and protection.

* Cisgender: a person whose gender identity correlates to the gender assigned to them at birth – i.e., not transgender.

5. It’s a reminder to keep learning about transgender issues

Whether or not your child is transgender, these are issues that affect all of our communities. Consequently, one of the most important things you can do as an ally is to stay informed about what’s important to transgender people.

See if any TDOV events are happening in your town. Read up on any anti-trans bills up for consideration in your state government. Try to find TV shows and movies about trans people. Pose, which made history with 5 transgender actors in the cast, is a great one to check out. 

If you have younger kids, there are some wonderful, beautifully illustrated children’s books about transgender people that you can read to them. If you’d like to read stories from parents of trans children, check out the stories section on our website. For parents of trans kids, we have a comprehensive and easy-to-read guide available for free on our website or for purchase as a hardcover book on Amazon. 

However you choose to celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility, we applaud you for doing your part to make the world a safer and better place for trans people.

Sources

  1. https://translegislation.com/ 
  2. https://www.kff.org/other/issue-brief/trans-people-in-the-u-s-identities-demographics-and-wellbeing/ 
  3. https://www.hrc.org/resources/international-transgender-day-of-visibility
  4. https://www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/stories/why-trans-visibility-day-matters/
  5. https://oge.harvard.edu/event/international-transgender-day-visibility
  6. https://www.tdov.org.au/about-tdov