Surviving & Thriving on Transgender Day of Visibility

Today marks the 9th annual Transgender Day of Visibility, a holiday that calls for celebration. This day on March 31st every year brings attention to the accomplishments of transgender individuals while advocating for their rights and fighting transphobia all over the world. Unlike the well-known Transgender Day of Remembrance, Trans Day of Visibility is a day for empowerment and well-deserved recognition of all of the brave trans people out there! Troubling statistics show that trans visibility is crucial - now more than ever.

According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 0.6% of Americans identify as transgender. This may seem like a small percentage, but it actually makes up 1.4 million people. Out of these 1.4 million people, 63% have experienced depression and 41% have attempted suicide. In addition to the worrying mental health statistics, transgender people are twice as likely to end up homeless, with those chances almost doubling again if they are people of color. The current administration is not doing any service to the community, either.

Last Friday, The Trump administration announced its ban on transgender military servicemembers, the same ban that four federal courts have already blocked. This is just the latest in discrimination against the trans community. Other attacks from our current administration include the rolling back of healthcare coverage for trans individuals, and the declaration that Title IX prohibits discrimination on sex but not gender identity.

Troubling times like these call for a day like Transgender Day of Visibility, to remind us of the accomplishments of the trans community.

Role models breaking barriers and advancements in the political world remind us that there are many causes for celebration. Just the first three months of 2018 alone have yielded numerous victories for the trans community all around the globe.

In February of this year, Laverne Cox became the first openly transgender person to be featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine.

The International Olympic Committee allowed transgender people to compete in the 2018 Winter Games

Medical advancements brought us the first transgender woman to successfully breastfeed.

In New Hampshire, the House of Representatives voted to pass HB1319 - legislation that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation.

A Fantastic Woman won Best Foreign Language Film at the 2018 Oscars, making history as the first Oscar winner in which the transgender protagonist is played by a trans person.

Maavia Malik appeared on presented the news on TV, becoming the first transgender woman in Pakistan to do so.

It is important to remember that, in spite of all of the obstacles, the transgender community is embodying this year’s theme Trans Day of Visibility: Surviving and Thriving.

While visibility is important, so is action. Today, and everyday, it is important to be an advocate for transgender rights. Support trans content creators, educate yourself about important issues, call out transphobia when you see it, go to events scheduled for Trans Day of Visibility, and donate or volunteer for organizations that support transgender people and their rights.