Since 2010, March 31 has been marked as Transgender Day of Visibility. Historically, this day is meant to be a celebration of trans and non-binary lives, unlike the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, which dates back to 1999 and is observed annually on November 20 to memorialize lives taken by violence against trans people.
Trans Day of Visibility arrives this year with a couple notable moves forward, but significant–and glaring–steps backward for trans rights embitter a day meant for trans celebration.
President Biden this year became the first U.S. president to issue a proclamation to formally recognize Trans Day of Visibility in the United States. The Biden administration has also overturned the Trump administration’s ban on trans people serving in the military, and named Dr. Rachel Levine as the first openly transgender person to hold federal office.
While these are victories to be sure, it’s difficult celebrate these small moves toward trans visibility while 2021 has already set a record for anti-trans legislation. Trans Day of Visibility is especially fraught today by the passage of HB 1507 in Arkansas, which yesterday further trampled the civil rights of arguably the most vulnerable people in the state, trans youth.
Texas is not far behind with Senate Bill 1311 aimed at prohibiting trans youth from receiving essential health care related to their gender identities.
While Trans Visibility is important every year, it feels especially critical this year. The onslaught of anti-trans legislations from so many states, and the murders of 12 trans people already reported, this year demands not just the recognition of trans lives, but their protection. It is more critical than ever for allies to act.
We ask that you join us both today and moving forward as we work to increase trans visibility and protect trans rights and lives.
What you can do
- Follow the Twitter #TransRightsAreHumanRights
- Know what legislation is being considered in your state
- Find out which of your local and federal officials support anti-trans legislation and contact their offices to voice your disapproval
- Be aware of how others (including family, friends, coworkers, and news sources) speak about the trans community and speak up when you hear or read someone perpetuate harmful rhetoric (including misgendering) about trans, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people
Educate yourself and those around you
- GLSEN Resources for educators
- Transgender Studies LibGuide
- Quick and Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities [Book]
- Keep an eye on our Social Justice Tumblr for trans-related resources
- Revisit our 2019 post Trans Lives & Public Policy