International Transgender Day of Visibility

Acknowledging Struggle and Making Way for Change

International Transgender Day of Visibility is on Friday, March 31st. This holiday celebrates non-binary and transgender people and acknowledges their strength and resilience. It is also a time to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions that trans and non-binary community members have made and reflect upon the ongoing issues that face the community.  

This holiday was created to address the need for more inclusive mass media shows expressing positive narratives towards and about trans and non-binary individuals. The founder of International Transgender Day of Visibility, Rachel Crandall, was concerned about the majority of trans and non-binary features being heavily focused on violence. Crandall dreamed of one day redirecting the focus from mainly violent stories to more positive and empowering narratives. Yet, she also wanted to make sure to acknowledge the violence that non-binary and trans community members face. 

The Numbers on Trans Violence

A Human Rights report, published in 2021, reflects that 59 transgender or gender nonconforming people were killed, the highest number HRC has recorded since tracking began in 2013. The Human Rights report also shares that there was an increase in the total number of documented fatally violent incidents against members of the transgender and nonconforming community, increasing from 256 to 268 in the years between 2013-2021. In a more recent PBS News Hour report, the Human Right’s Campaign announced that at least 32 transgender people were killed in the U.S. in 2022. It also stated that transgender people of color account for 81 percent of known victims and 59 percent were Black. Overall the Human Rights Campaign has reported at least 302 violent deaths of gender-non-conforming and transgender people, since the start of the campaign tracking in 2013.

While trans and non-confirming violence has affected all demographics, it has been reported that the victims of these hate crimes are overwhelmingly Black, under 35, and killed with a firearm. When scrolling through the visual list of the Human Rights campaigns report: An Epidemic of Violence 2022, it can be seen that several victims are not only Black but mostly young. Throughout my research, I’ve realized more deeply that this issue does not only affect the trans and non-confirming community, but it also affects the youth of the Black community as well. 

Innocent lives are and have been taken, simply because of the hate and lack of understanding in our communities, and something needs to be done about it. 

Things Have to Change

In a recent Vice report called How 2022 Became the Year Trans Hate Went Mainstream, it was reported that in 2022 alone, more than 171 anti-trans bills and more than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills- have been introduced across the U.S. Luckily, campaigns like United Against Hate fight against discriminatory and hateful LGBTQ+ legislation and encourage others to do so as well. Even the Metropolitan Police Department has a specialized unit fighting for the needs of the LGBTQ community, called the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Liaison Unit (LGBTLU). The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority even launched a campaign to fight against the harassment members of the community have endured, and even encouraged on-lookers to report any incidents they saw. 

Yes, there are campaigns, advertisements, community members, and much more fighting against hate crimes and hateful discrimination legislation. Still, there is a lot more that can and should be done. The International Transgender Day of Visibility is a great way to spread the word and create awareness. Yet, we can do this every day. We can do this by having those tough conversations and informing people of their stiff, outdated, and downright hateful thinking. I, being a member of the LGBTQ+ community, have even had to recently step back and reflect upon my thinking when it comes to the trans community and make adjustments to my thinking. 

Final Thoughts

Recently, I was having a light debate with my close friend about a few of the issues that trans people face within the community. I interjected that hateful violence and thinking can be corrected with education. I believed that an individual or a few individuals should go around educating people. My friend simply asked, “Who’s job is it to educate people who are killing and/or harming transgender people?”

We parted ways and I gave her response thought, remembering that it isn’t the victim’s job to teach their attacker to not attack them. They should not even be attacked in the first place. Thinking about it now, I simply don’t know the answer. But a few potential answers come to mind: (1) having compassion and understanding; (2) educating oneself about things or people they don’t know about or understand; (3) controlling one’s own hateful impulses; and (4) simply minding one’s own damn business. 

Happy International Transgender Day of Visibility!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *