- March 31, 2020
Today, HRC honors International Trans Day of Visibility. Held annually on March 31, International Transgender Day of Visibility is a time to celebrate transgender and non-binary people around the globe and acknowledge the courage it takes to live openly and authentically. Advocates also use the day to raise awareness around discrimination and violence that trans people still face.
“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,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “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.”
In honor of the day, HRC released a new video featuring some of its transgender and non-binary staff and volunteers discussing the need for visibility, the power of transgender and non-binary voices and the litany of bills in the states attacking this community.
On the same day we celebrate the power and visibility of transgender and non-binary people, Idaho has become a national innovator in discrimination, having passed and signed into law first-of-its-kind anti-transgender legislation. It also becomes the first state in the country this year to enact legislation that specifically singles out the transgender community for discriminatory treatment. Yesterday, Governor Brad Little signed two pieces of discriminatory anti-transgender legislation, commonly referred to as HB 500 and HB 509, even as his state and the world reel from the effects of COVID-19. HB 500 will bar transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. HB 509 flies in the face of a recent court decision by forbidding transgender and non-binary Idahoans from changing their gender marker on their birth certificates. Both laws are unconstitutional and will result in litigation at the cost of the Idaho taxpayer, which is particularly appalling during these uncertain times.
Idaho is riding a wave of dangerous bills in the states that attack transgender and non-binary Americans, and especially transgender youth. Already in 2020, we have more than 60 anti-transgender bills filed across the United States -- that’s more than three times as many anti-transgender bills as were filed in all of 2019. This includes more than 20 bills that would prohibit transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming care and more than 20 bills that would prohibit transgender youth from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. These bills are opposed by more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1000 child welfare organizations, 40 major businesses and 1,800 parents of transgender and non-binary children from all 50 U.S. states and Washington D.C.
There is an epidemic of violence against the transgender and non-binary community, and especially against Black transgender women. In November 2019, ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance, HRC Foundation released “A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2019,” a heartbreaking report honoring the trans people killed and detailing the contributing and motivating factors that lead to this tragic violence. Sadly, 2019 saw at least 26 transgender or gender non-conforming people in the U.S. fatally shot or killed by other violent means. In 2020, we have seen at least five such deaths. We say at least because too often these stories go unreported -- or misreported.
In September, HRC announced it is significantly expanding its work dedicated to justice for the transgender community through the Transgender Justice Initiative. The organization is advancing new initiatives that address the urgent needs of the transgender community, with specific attention to community members deeply impacted by racism, sexism and transphobia. This major effort includes a focus on economic empowerment; capacity-building programs; targeted task forces in communities hardest hit hard by the epidemic of anti-trans violence; and expanded public education campaigns. To learn more about HRC’s work on transgender equality, visit HRC.org/transgender. HRC offers a guide to reporters on how to cover transgender-related stories, which can be found here.