- March 29, 2018
Transgender people come from all walks of life -- we are parents, siblings, children. We are your coworkers and your neighbors. We are seven-year-old kids 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 (TDOV) is marked every year on March 31. It is a time to celebrate transgender people around the globe and the courage it takes to live openly and authentically, while also raising awareness around the discrimination trans people still face.
The journey toward living openly and authentically looks different for everyone, and, given the levels of violence and discrimination faced by transgender and gender expansive people, revealing and expressing one’s gender identity can be a complex and difficult process.
In honor of TDOV, members of HRC’s staff share what visibility means to them:
“I’ve made the conscious decision to be out and visible in my life since my twenties. It was just too painful not to fully reveal and embody who I am. Through my work I meet transgender people every week whose lives are positively impacted by being welcomed and supported in their places of work. Sometimes work is the only place where they are fully embraced for their true and unique selves. The experience of being out, visible and welcomed for who they are is transformative. Not only are their lives changed, but so is mine!”
— Beck Bailey, HRC Deputy Director, Workplace Equality Program
“Even though at 6-years-old, I'd go to bed each night wishing I'd wake up a boy, it wasn't until much later that I actually knew transgender men existed. That was when I heard the tragic story of Brandon Teena. It's vital to lift up these stories of violence, to show the world what transgender people -- and especially transgender women of color -- are facing each and every day. At the same time, it's important to lift up all our stories. Stories of joy and sadness, of creativity and creation. Stories of conflict and change, of perseverance and justice. Being visibly transgender is privilege that carries risks, but it also carries rewards. It's about giving people -- of all races and genders, of all abilities and religions, of all walks of life -- mirrors in which they can also see themselves and their friends and their families.”
— Jay Brown, HRC Deputy Director, Programs, Research & Training
"Visibility for the transgender community is vital. If it weren't for people like Janet Mock, Danica Roem and Sarah McBride being out and living their true selves, I would never have felt comfortable being my true self. It's crucial that when possible, we express our truth to the world. We make it a little easier for the next trans person -- often a child -- to do the same."
— Charlotte Clymer, HRC Press Secretary, Rapid Response
“Visibility for me goes beyond the personal. I include pronouns in my email signature, on name tags, and when I introduce myself to someone. But it is also about creating the space for others to be visible - proactively asking people for their pronouns, encouraging others to list pronouns on name tags or in email signatures. Visibility for me provides the opportunity to educate others.”
— Candace Gingrich, HRC Associate Director, Youth and Campus Engagement & HRCU Internship Coordinator
“Embodying this non-binary trans identity unapologetically is a choice I make every day and in every interaction. I am visible not only for my own well-being, but for young people who may not otherwise see a way for themselves in a society divided so strictly into ‘man’ and ‘woman.’ I am visible because I can be, safely, as a result of my privilege -- and I am visible in order to make space on a national platform for the voices of trans folks living at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities.”
— Sula Malina, HRC Children, Youth & Families Program Coordinator
“For a long time, I hesitated to claim my gender identity because I didn’t feel that I fit a certain narrative of what it meant to be transgender. For me, visibility combats this: if and when we can be visible, we make a multitude of narratives accessible to those in our community and those outside of it. The opportunity to see pieces of your experience in others and to reject the notion of one common narrative, strengthens our community and can expand our understanding of ourselves and the diversity of trans experience.”
— Liam Miranda, HRC Senior Research Manager, Public Education & Research
“Visibility for me means being open about being transgender and not having my co-workers consider firing me or changing their perceptions of my performance. Visibility for me is about being able to educate people about transgender lives and the experiences we live so that cisgender people can better understand us. Visibility is about being a role model for youth and those who are desperate to be themselves. To me, Trans Day of Visibility is about being proud of who you are and reminding the world that transgender people exist, we are diverse and we are beautiful like everyone else.”
— Laya Monarez HRC Membership Outreach Coordinator