What TDOV Means to HRC's 19-Year-Old Trans "Official" DJ

by HRC Staff

I’m Nico Craig, “official” DJ for the Human Rights Campaign and an alum of HRC’s Youth Ambassadors program. Not only have I grown up in HRC — and grown to love HRC as my family — I have proudly transformed myself as a queer, Black trans man. And I want to share my thoughts about the specialness of Trans Day of Visibility with you.

First, though, I consider myself an “artivist” — an artist and an activist — and my passions for music and HRC go hand-in-hand. It’s beautiful to make music and be a part of an organization that is empathetic, impactful and part of transformative change, especially in my own life. The best part: I’ve been able to spin music at HRC’s gala dinners for almost a decade. HRC has given me a platform to make music and advocate for love and liberation.

I started spinning for HRC when I was 10 — they called me DJ Young One — and I became a Youth Ambassador when I was 17, then out as a lesbian. I worked with HRC’s Time to Thrive program and fully support its Count Me In movement, which I encourage you to join.

Even when I was spinning for HRC as a teenager, though — and despite knowing that I had found “my people” at HRC — something in my life was still off: I wasn’t yet living authentically. I remember waking up and feeling like I had to put on a façade to hide the way I really felt inside. Part of me hated and felt alien to myself — because I didn’t sufficiently understand myself…

In time, I grew to know that “I am trans and this is how I really feel internally and externally.”

HRC and my friends on the staff continued to be 1000% supportive of me. They loved me and embraced me. Their own visibility and unconditional acceptance helped make it possible for me to be truly honest with myself and the people in my life. They taught me how to know and love myself as a trans man, for which I will always be grateful.

And now that I’ve transitioned socially and physically, I can see and love myself as I truly am. I know that the person I was born as is a much more evolved person — and I’ll go out of this world as the person I want to be and was meant to be.

So, to me, Trans Day of Visibility has a very special meaning of radical acceptance and love — acceptance and love of ourselves and our strength and power as individuals and in unity. TDOV is about being in the present moment and owning the moment, visible at our best and most vulnerable…

On Trans Day of Visibility, I’m reminded to love and accept myself and my body — and not compare myself with other people — as I am and as I’m becoming.

Its meaning is also universal. That’s the whole point. We want to inspire trans people, to give them a platform to spread the message. But everyone needs compassion, empathy, and love — those are the key ingredients of living a fulfilling life with richness and possibility. Everyone deserves a life of freedom, expression and love, whomever we love and however we love.

If we are going to live on this planet, we have to live authentically.

If you agree, please consider taking the Count Me In pledge.

TDOV shows that trans people can inspire everyone in and out of the community to flourish in ways that we’ve never flourished before and bring new energy to why we live the lives we live. On this special day and every day, I wish you love, happiness, good health, visibility and joy.

Thank you,
Nico Craig

Nico Craig is a musician and a queer, Black trans activist, living in Los Angeles. He is an HRC Youth Ambassador alum and “official” DJ for HRC. Nico agrees with RuPaul that “if you don’t love yourself, how are you ever going to love someone else?” He encourages everyone — especially those who don’t feel seen, heard and validated — to love themselves, take care of themselves and find support at organizations like the Human Rights Campaign.