March 31 is International Transgender Day of Visibility, and as part of our celebration, we wanted to hear from our employees about what the day means to them. We connected with Digital Outreach Specialist Avery Elliott to hear their thoughts on the day’s importance, what they want people to know about the day, and which trans artists they recommend checking out! Read what they had to say below, followed by additional resources on how you can partake in honoring and celebrating the transgender community.
Every year, International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) recognizes the achievements, trailblazers, and art of the transgender and gender non-conforming communities. It also serves as an opportunity to learn from and listen to transgender people about their experiences with discrimination and the work that still needs to be done to achieve true equality and justice.
As part of our celebration, we wanted to hear from our team about their experience with TDoV. We spoke with Digital Outreach Specialist Avery Elliott to learn what the day means to them, how they celebrate, and more! Read their full thoughts below.
What does Trans Day of Visibility mean to you? What is the significance in your own words?
“For me, Trans Day of Visibility is really about society and celebrations of the LGBTQ community catching up to our full history. Transgender people have always existed, but even within the past 100 years, we haven’t really had the language to express what being trans really means. Even into the early 2000s, trans people were called terms like ‘transexual’ instead of a term that expressed what gender identity is about and how gender and sexual/romantic orientation live in completely separate realms, not dependent on each other.
There has also been a long history of societal erasure of trans identities, especially those that are non-binary genders, such as the suppression of two spirits from indigenous tribes when Europeans came to the Americas. TDoV is about recognizing that being transgender has come with a long history of hiding and violence and, though the world is far from perfect in 2022, it is becoming less necessary to hide who we are, and we can instead be more open and louder in the expression of our identities.”
How do you personally recognize/celebrate the day?
“I like to celebrate the day by sharing art created by trans individuals and fundraisers for organizations that benefit the trans community. I also like to get a group of Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) friends together to go out for lunch or dinner, or go hang out at a local LGBT center (like Brooklyn Community Pride Center or The Center in Manhattan).”
What do you want people to know about the trans community?
“Trans people are just people. There is a lot of misconception about what being transgender means. No one fakes being trans in order to deceive or harm anyone else. Anyone reading this has interacted with a trans person at some point in their lives, likely without even realizing it. In reality, transgender individuals are more likely to experience violence than to perpetrate it. Also, we don’t have ‘preferred names’ and ‘preferred pronouns’. The names and pronouns that match our identity are our lived truths, not the names and pronouns on our legal documents.”
What trans artists, music, literature would you recommend/share with others?
“I LOVE the band Against Me! fronted by trans woman Laura Jane Grace (and their album Transgender Dysphoria Blues is totally fitting for TDoV). I highly recommend Marsha P. Johnson’s poetry and watching things Laverne Cox is in because supporting Black trans women is especially important. Also, I adore Elliot Page because there’s not a lot of non-binary, trans-masc representation out there.”
Ways to Celebrate:
Interested in learning more about Transgender Day of Visibility, but unsure of where to start? We’ve compiled a list of educational resources to help. We hope you’ll join us in spending this time learning more about the history, impact, and community of transgender and gender non-conforming people.
- Learn the history of the transgender community
- Read about the transgender experience
- Listen to transgender and non-binary musical artists and celebrate their art
- Discuss the current issues facing transgender communities and learn about activism efforts to address them
- Buy from trans small business owners and artisans
- Get involved in LGBTQIATS+ volunteer organizations