In 2010, trans advocate Rachel Crandall, head of Transgender Michigan, created the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) to raise awareness about transgender people and draw attention “to the poverty, discrimination, and violence the community faces.”
Every March 31st, the TDOV is a celebration of the lives and contributions of a wonderful tapestry of trans lives, having so much to offer, but far-too-often victimized, with unrealized, untapped potential, wasted in lives of not-so-quiet desperation, lived largely internally in fear and violence.
Beginning with Trump’s attack on transgender patriots serving or wanting to serve in our military, Republicans have launched a ceaseless assault on transgender, nonbinary, and intersex lives since 2016. And since their defeats in November of 2020, they have stepped up their unfounded and hateful legal and rhetorical attacks.
By May 7th of last year, a Human Rights Campaign press release stated that officially, 2021 was the worst year in recent history, breaking 2015’s record, with laws passed:
- making it a felony to provide transgender youth with life-saving health care;
- banning transgender girls from participating in sports;
- erasing LGBTQ people from school curriculum; and,
- granting broad licenses to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
These Republican efforts have targeted the trans community across the country. Recently, and most frighteningly, a former Mississippi Republican representative and author of the state’s death penalty law, tweeted the transgender individuals and their supporters “…need to be lined up against [a] wall before a firing squad to be sent to an early judgment.”
All of this under the pretense of ‘religious freedom”, attempting to legitimize an anti-evidence/anti-science mindset with the terrifying goal of criminalizing and eradicating all trans, gender nonconforming, or intersex human beings on a global basis.
Why TDOV Matters More Than Ever
In 2022, literally hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across the states, before we were even two, let alone three, months into the year. The vast majority of these bills were explicitly, specifically anti-trans. Most bills frequently do not use the language “transgender.” Many anti-LGBTQ bills, such as curriculum bans are unequivocally, undeniably, rooted in transphobia. “Sexuality,” is mentioned as well, but gender identity is a clear alleged “concern.” Unsurprisingly, many states proposing curriculum restriction bills also proposed at least on bill that is blatantly anti-trans-specific.
On a positive note, Equality Texas has announced that all of the nearly forty bills proposed in the state have failed in the legislature!
All of this is to say two things:
We need TDOV more than ever within our community, to be together, to celebrate the successes we have made, and to celebrate us.
We need TDOV more than ever because awareness is the beginning of change. We need the world to know we are here, we are watching, we are acting; we need them to know that there is still work to be done.
March 31st is a day of awareness and celebration of our transgender siblings. Awareness and celebration should be active and ongoing, while the Transgender Day of Visibility, to a T, reminds us of this undeniable fact.