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March 31, 2022 3 min read

We See You & We Celebrate You

Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual awareness day celebrated around the world. The day is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of transgender and gender-nonconforming people while raising awareness of the work that still needs to be done to achieve trans justice.

From the time they are born, children are taught that there are girls and there are boys. But our history books, like our communities, are rich with people who have blurred, blended, or crossed those lines.

International Transgender Day of Visibility is all about giving transexuals the spotlight on this day and educating others about what it means to be transgender and to try and remove transphobia as a result. The Trans Student Educational Resource has education videos that detail stories about trans people and how they experience life.

This day encourages people to talk about the issues facing transgender people and why it’s important to talk about those issues. It’s a day of recognition, allowing people to learn about the history of transgender people in the world, and a day all about building acceptance for a minority group that strives for safety, understanding, and well-being.

While gender is traditionally presented to us as either male or female — mutually exclusive and unchangeable opposites — the truth is that gender is a rich, broad spectrum that comes in as many forms as there are people.

For many, expressing gender is unconscious. It’s as simple as styling your hair or tying a tie. It causes no angst or uncertainty. But for those whose gender identity or innate sense of their own gender doesn’t match with that assigned to them at birth, unraveling and expressing it can be complex and difficult.

Many of these individuals come to identify as “transgender,” an umbrella term that describes a wide range of people who experience or express their gender in different, sometimes non-traditional ways. Those of us who identify as transgender must make deeply personal decisions about when and even whether to disclose and be open about who we are with ourselves and others — even when it isn’t easy.

We express that openness by being our complete selves among our friends, our family, our co-workers, and sometimes, even strangers. Each of us makes decisions about meeting this challenge in our own way and in our own time. Throughout the process of self-discovery and disclosure, you should always be in the driver’s seat about how, where, when, and with whom you choose to be open.

In the past, there were fewer safe options for people who felt confined by the traditional understanding of gender as “either-or.” Today, there are more and more people who choose to identify as neither male nor female and who express their gender in less traditional ways.

Regardless of where you fit on the spectrum of transgender identities, you are on a journey that is uniquely yours and that is ongoing. It can unfold at your own pace and that gets easier with time.

Living openly and authentically doesn’t mean that the sole or even primary aspect of who you are is your gender identity or expression. It just means that this part of your life is as natural and acceptable as your eye color, your height, or your personality. But it’s not just about you. Living openly teaches others that there’s more to gender than they might have ever known. It paves the way for future generations of transgender youth to live better lives. And it shows others, especially those who are biased or judgmental, that their attitudes are theirs alone.

Almost every day, you will face decisions about where, when, and how to disclose that you are transgender — or where, when, and why not to. Always remember, this is your journey. You get to decide how to take it

No resource can be fully applicable to every member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Beyond this general guide, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation has published Transgender Americans: A Handbook for Understanding, with the supporting partner of the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Transgender Law & Policy Institute. The handbook offers a more comprehensive look at the many issues faced by transgender Americans. Download it by visiting www.hrc.org/transgender.

 

 


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