Beyond Trans Visibility
Today is the Transgender Day of Visibility. I am transgender. I also identify as genderqueer. I am your community member, your neighbor, your constituent, your customer, your former classmate, your friend, your family member.
According to GLAAD, 80% of people say they do not know a transgender person. And I believe that many of those 80% actually do know trans people, but just don’t know it. I am certain of this because there are people I interact with that do not know that I am transgender. Some people in my organizing groups, neighbors on my block, some of my clients. I’m a very out person, but there are just some relationships where my transness has not come up in our interactions. I’m sure this is true for others as well. I have facilitated workshops supporting trans inclusion for 20 years. I have been in offices and heard people say they didn’t know any transgender people as they sat right next to their transgender coworker.
Transgender people are everywhere--we always have been. There are so many of us. I know because I see us everywhere. We work in your stores, eat at your restaurants, drive on the same streets, go to the same schools, we play on your sports teams. But we’re not always visible, and sometimes we are intentionally are hiding our transgender status or experience in order to be safe.
The Transgender Day of Visibility is a day to help blast past invisibility to show how vast the trans community is. It is also a day to showcase trans joy. We are not a wholly damaged and tortured community--don’t get me wrong, anti-trans, cissexist bias is real, pervasive and violent (and when intersected with other oppressions, including racism, sexism, ableism and more, the violence is only compounded). But being trans, for many of us, is not depressing or sad. It is joyful!
I love being trans and being genderqueer. I love the perspective my trans experience has given me on the world and I am so thrilled that I get to share this perspective with other people. I truly celebrate my continued journey of self-discovery. And I truly love my wide and vast trans community: our vigilance, our fortitude, our creativity, our commitment to one another. But most of all I appreciate the deep, deep love in our trans community for each other and for ourselves. In a world that on the norm doesn’t love us we have to love each other to survive. Love is our strongest survival tool, and wow, just how beautiful is that?
We won’t survive on love alone. Trans people are under unprecedented legislative attack. Trans youth, particularly, are being stripped of rights. States like Mississippi, Arkansas, South Dakota and Alabama are only the most recent examples of unnecessary attacks on trans youth in the name of protecting children (FYI, TRANS CHILDREN ARE ALSO CHILDREN worthy of protection). But as this movement gains steam additional legislation could be proposed in other states as well. Spread the word in your circles that this is not acceptable. Talk to your neighbors, family, friends, coworkers and ESPECIALLY legislators about your support of trans people including trans youth. Help us save our communities today and every day.
Want to do and learn more?
Live in Alabama? Take action NOW! Contact Governor Kay Ivey and tell her to VETO HB1/SB10 and HB391 (via @chasestrangio)
Live in Arkansas? Take action NOW! Tell Governor Asa Hutchinson to VETO HB 1570 (via @chasestrangio)
Support trans-led organizations, like the Trans Justice Funding Project, National Center for Transgender Equality, Transgender Law Center, and representing trans people in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, the River City Gender Alliance.
Watch Disclosure on Netflix to learn about how trans people have been represented in media from the very first moving pictures.
Lift up trans voices, follow trans leaders and repost their content, and share articles written by trans people, like @translashmedia, @raquel_willis, @andy_marra, @chasestrangio, @janetmock, @lavernecox.
Want to know what some of these terms mean?Here’s a list I share with my clients that might be helpful.