Why We All Need to Celebrate International Day of Transgender Visibility on March 31st
The calendar seems ever more crowded with days to mark this, celebrate that, highlight a cause or identity. It might feel impossible remember them all, or keep up with new ones which are being added each year.However we believe International Transgender Day of Visibility, on March 31st is especially important to publicly mark.
International Transgender Day of Visibility (IDOTV) was started by Rachel Crandall in 2009. At that time the only day specifically dedicated to transgender lives was Trans Day of Remembrance, observed in November. Whilst it is an important day, and sobering to remember all those who have lost their lives to transphobic violence, it left little room for celebration. Crandall wanted to highlight that there is more to transgender people than their deaths. In a world where the media can so often focus on the negative International Day of Transgender Visibility is a day to celebrate the positive, the successes and the contribution of Trans people to all sections of society.
Transgender people are disproportionately represented in the statistics of violence against LGBTQ people, especially trans women of colour. It matters that this violence is challenged, and those who have been victims of violence are remembered. However we are also sportspeople, poets, authors, parents, siblings, doctors, nurses, the person browsing in Fenwicks, and the shop assistant serving them. We have lives, we are living them, and in being visible we are saying we belong here too.
Whatever your organisation, whichever community you serve, it will include transgender people. By marking International Day of Trans Visibility you are making a clear and positive signal that trans people are part of your community. Employees, customers, service users, volunteers, whether they are cisgender or transgender, all benefit from knowing that they are part of something which is open to people of all genders. Indeed we would say the smaller your organisation, the more important marking ITDOV is. Many trans people fear prejudice and hostility, simply for being themselves. A tweet of support, a flag in a window, a sticker on a door, is a way of saying, “you are welcome here”.
International Day of Transgender Visibility is also the perfect time to announce the formation of Be:Northumberland and Be: Tyne and Wear, groups led by the trans community, rooted in their local areas, and providing support, training and community development to people who so often have felt invisible and overlooked.
If you would like to talk to us about hosting your own InternationaL Day Of Trans Visibility event, or training for your staff/volunteers to make your spaces trans inclusive please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org