Transgender Day of Visibility - What is it and Why?
Trans Day of Visibility was started by activist Rachel Crandall in 2009 as a reaction to the lack of recognition of trans people, noting that the only well-known gender diversity cantered day was the Trans Day of Remembrance, a day of mourning.
TDOV was created as a day to acknowledge and celebrate living members of the transgender community. International Transgender Day of Visibility has been held on March 31 ever since! It’s a Day when we gender expansive folk often choose to be visible, to celebrate who we are, to claim our space and rights in society. Of course, we are totally entitled to do this every day, and many of us do. Still, it’s important to have an official day to increase feelings of community and joy, especially at the current time when many fascist movements worldwide are stepping up their attempts to eradicate us.
However, it often comes as a surprise to cisgender people ( those who agree with the gender given to them on their birth certificate) that many transgender people DON’T want to be visible. After all, we generally don’t transition to then become widely known as a transgender person! The majority transition with the goal of “passing”, that is to be seen and treated the same as a cisgender person.
Some of us, like myself as a proud gender Queer person, choose to be visible. Personally, I am delighted to finally allow my genders to move around as they wish (I often have a few appear at once).
I enjoy educating people about the gender spectrum. They are often of the media-spread perception that we are born clearly knowing that we are transgender, we then hide it on purpose until a time when it will upset the most people by coming out! (NOT the case!). Many also think that being transgender means you must want to change from your gender on your birth certificate to the opposite gender, and to do so by taking hormones and having surgery. Often people have no idea about the many other identities such as non-binary, non-binary transmasc or non-binary transfemme, genderfluid, gender Queer, agender…and more.
Transgender Day of Visibility is now often accompanied by many media campaigns which do an amazing job of teaching others about the gender umbrella, breaking down stigma, and encouraging respectful questions. It’s also a day when many of us reach out to other gender expansive people, yearning for community, as so often we are very isolated, living in fear and subject to frequent discrimination.
As many of you know, currently there are many rallies around Australia with the goal of making transgender people extinct. It seems bizarre that they fail to acknowledge that we most ancient indigenous cultures have acknowledged our presence for centuries. So, we have always been here, and always will be. You can try to deny us rights, to ban gender affirming surgeries, to remove access to hormone therapy, yet you CANNOT STOP us being born. Therein lies the huge hole in the movement, so it cannot succeed. Actually, these rallies are increasing BECAUSE we are becoming more courageous in fighting for our rights, in not hiding who we are, in gaining public support.
Whether you choose to be visible or not on the 31st March is up to you. There needs to be no pressure to do so. Even if in secret you are celebrating how glorious it is to be trans, and that you are never alone.
Learn more at https://tdov.org.au/