Wednesday, March 31, 2021 by Stacey Joseph for ImpactEDI™
Did you know that today, March 31st, is International Transgender Day of Visibility? If you didn’t, that’s okay, you know now. Each year on this day, all people are invited to herald the stories and celebrate the lives, experiences, contributions, beauty, diversity, and value, of transgender, gender-diverse, and gender non-binary people.
TDOV was started (and first celebrated) in 2009 by Rachel Crandall, a transgender activist in Michigan, USA. After having attended countless funeral services of transgender women who had been targets and victims of transgender violence and ultimately transgender homicide, Rachel decided to take action. Before TDOV, was commemorated, the only day set aside specifically to collectively acknowledge the transgender community was Transgender Day of Remembrance. Imagine if the only day in which your identity was collectively recognized was a day that focused on lives lost to systemic and interpersonal violence. Crandall wanted transgender people to have a moment of happiness, where everyday lives of transgender individuals could be celebrated. She made a Facebook post encouraging people to organize festivities in their hometowns to ensure that trans lives would be made visible not only in death, but in all of the ways in which we all should be able to exist and contribute to our communities and the greater collective, in sharing a sense of belonging in all of the spaces that we occupy.
Today, Joe Biden has called upon all Americans to collectively recognize that “in spite of our progress in advancing civil rights for the LGBTQ+ Community, too many transgender people – adults and youth alike – still face systemic barriers to freedom and equality [and equity].” Today, as we celebrate trans lives and experiences (and even if you haven’t gotten to the place in your inclusion journey to be celebratory) it’s important to remember that many trans people must balance visibility with their personal safety, and that though we don’t typically think of visibility in this way, visibility is a privilege that is not experienced by/enjoyed by everyone. We still have so much more work to do to ensure the liberation and safety of trans people, and particularly, trans people who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and trans folks with visible disabilities, and/or mental health issues, as they experience bias, isms, and transphobic micro and macro aggressions at every intersection of their layered identities.
At ImpactEDI™, we are highlighting TDOV 2021 with a call to action. Along with all other efforts to fight against bias, inequality, and oppression, we take up and commit to the collective work of ensuring that this day doesn’t mean visibility for some trans people annually, but rather liberation and safety for all trans people, every day.
Here are some small ways in which you can begin to make a difference.
- Self-Educate! Commit to continually educating yourself and share the knowledge and gained insights across your networks. You might even begin by sharing this article forward.
- Research and support trans artists who are using self-expression to educate, heal, and celebrate the trans experience.
- Seek out diverse trans representations as a way to further self-educate and as a way to ‘break bias’ and replace negative stereotypes.
- Normalize sharing pronouns by including your pronouns in your email signature and in conjunction with your name on your social media and social networking profiles.
- Amplify the voices of trans people by re-sharing, retweeting, re-telling their stories. I suggest Janet Mock’s memoir Redefining Realness – My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More.
- Check out this three minute, poignant video featuring Kai Cheng Thom – Writer, Performer, & Therapist, on The Politics of Sexy, Race, Trans, Love.
- Request that your organization/school offer ED&I training, workshops, talks etc. on Implicit Bias, Gender Identity and Perspectives, and Cultural Competence.
- Created safe spaces of belonging.
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Stacey S. Joseph, CDP, ODCP, MBA – Stacey Joseph (she, her, hers) is a Certified Diversity Professional, Certified Somatic Practitioner, and Founder of ImpactEDI™. She facilitates trainings, workshops, and somatic healing sessions around diversity, inclusion, racialized trauma, and creating safe spaces of belonging. She is also a regular contributor to the ImpactEDI™ blog.