Transgender Day of Visibility’s cost must be underscored. It is a day that the injustices the trans community faces should be addressed. In most places in the world, and especially here in Ireland, transgender people do not live a life where visibility is easy.
Trans Day of Visibility still matters, and the day’s importance cannot be overlooked. From its inception a decade ago TDOV has stood as a day to celebrate who we are on our own terms and to also rally support for the work that needs to be done. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, assaults on transgender rights have risen. As is the case whenever a marginalised community becomes more visible, so does visible campaigning against that community.
In 2009 Rachel Crandall, a transgender psychotherapist started this campaign to celebrate trans people while we are still here, to showcase the resilience of the community, and the achievements we have made despite the challenges. Transgender Day of Visibility was supposed to be part pride, and part protest. It was to celebrate the individuality of trans people, the beauty of diversity and to call out the practices and structures that make life harder for transgender people. Unfortunately, since 2009 while legal protections and equality have increased in some places, many countries are seeing a stalling of advancement of rights, a decline in access to healthcare, and a rise in violence against trans people. Since 2009, yearly statistics on violence and hate based crimes has increased. TDOV has been a stark reminder that for all our achievements, when we reach Trans Day of Remembrance, we are staring down a day where we mourn even more deaths than the year before.
Therefore, Transgender Day of Visibility’s cost must be underscored. It is a day that the injustices the trans community faces should be addressed. In most places in the world, and especially here in Ireland, transgender people do not live a life where visibility is easy. Being visible is not waving the trans flag, with rainbows and unicorns surrounding us. Visibility in Ireland can mean facing harassment in walking out of our front doors, being shouted at on the streets, having our private lives exposed online, not securing adequate housing, being at odds with your family, and being denied jobs.
It means waiting for years for access to healthcare and facing the reality that the medical field and society consistently pressure us to prove who we are. Visibility in many cases today has been weaponised against trans people. Yet we still choose to be visible and to be visibly trans is to choose to be seen in an unsafe world.
Happy #TransgenderDayofVisibility! 🏳️⚧️ Today and every day we celebrate and stand in solidarity and support with our trans and non-binary siblings worldwide. #TransDayOfVisibility #TDOV #TDOV2021 #TransRIghtsAreHumanRights pic.twitter.com/Puwsp6mu7d
— Gay Community News (@GCNmag) March 31, 2021
TDOV is a reminder that visibility comes with a cost, and I want to ask you why does being me day in and day out cost me everything? Why are trans people asked to celebrate our visibility when in many ways it can be a burden because most days society uses it against us? Being visible means risking another editorial misgendering me, another debate that demonises me, while not being given a voice. We are visible in many ways to be examined, to be prodded, and one day a year to be “celebrated.” I would ask you, as an ally, does my visibility not deserve protection? Am I worth the cost? What are you doing to ensure that my visibility endures to next year? I stated that in a decade of Trans Days of Visibility we have seen a decade of violence, we have lived a decade of discrimination.
If I am visible, it is because I am visible for myself, for my friends, and loved ones. Visibility is celebrated within our community because each of us is authentically us. As trans people we’ve fought to get here, and we are grounded in who we are. Our identities are true and unshaken. Visibility is for us a way to continue to claim our autonomy, and to stand up for those coming after us. I am visible and I celebrate Trans Day of Visibility so that one day a trans person can come out, and not have to wage the same daily battles I do. I have been around for every Trans Day of Visibility, and each year I know it is someone else’s first. It is my hope that a decade from now TDOV is all Pride, but until that day you will find me visibly fighting alongside you.
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