31 Mar Happy TDOV 2022
Transgender Day of Visibility
It seems that with each passing day it is harder and harder to b.visible. In a world full of criticism that is often amplified by modern technology despite the conveniences that we are graced with, it is difficult to step through all the noise and walk with confidence. This of course applies to every single person to some degree, but the Trans Community has been particularly vulnerable to scrutiny in recent years. There is only so much we can do as a society to fix this, and Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOS) is just one piece of the equation; a starting point to remind everybody that we’re all unique, and that we’re all trying to find our true selves. At the end of the day, our identities are so important in helping us navigate through life, and continually striving to make sure every individual has a fair shake finding themselves is absolutely necessary. We owe it to ourselves to be truly free to b.ourselves. To b.seen. To b.visible.
And so it began
Since March 31, 2009, TDOV has been an annual event dedicated to not only raise awareness of the discrimination faced by transgender people, but also celebrate their contributions to society. The primary reason for TDOV coming into existence is to show people the brighter side of humanity. Until TDOV’s conception, only Transgender Day of Remembrance was celebrated. While it’s important to look back at the missteps our society has taken by mourning the the mistreatment and murders of transgender people, the need to celebrate the accomplishments of those living with us each and every day. While the importance of remembering the past and learning from it cannot be understated, we need a glimmer of optimism to keep us moving in the right direction toward acceptance, connection, and togetherness.
Where we’re heading
Humanity has made many missteps throughout history, and we’re always learning. Are we getting better? Yes. Are things better now than they have been twenty years ago? Of course. Should we ever be satisfied with our progress? Absolutely not! Visibility is just the starting point. There’s visibility, and there is truly being seen. This is where we could all do a little better. Small gestures like holding a door open, or complimenting somebody’s haircut are infectious, and the desire to pay it forward will grow. Sometimes, to help somebody truly see themselves, we need to say “I see you too.”
While visibility is being celebrated on TDOV, we recognize how hard it can be to feel seen. Whether confidence levels are at play, or you’re simply in a toxic environment that hinders your ability to show your true self in a way that feels safe and supported, there are resources out there to help you along the way. Part of truly being seen is being well– either physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually, and with wellness comes the ability to be your best self.
The Trans Lifeline is a grassroots hotline that directly offers emotional and final support to trans people in crisis. It’s one thing to survive and thrive on your own, but everybody needs a little help sometimes. Trans Lifeline envisions a world where trans people have the “connection, economic security, and care everybody needs and deserves.”
Another resource worth looking into is Gender Spectrum. Gender Spectrum is an organization that takes critical areas of children’s lives and works to bring greater gender understanding and inclusion. Since so many aspects of our lives are influenced by gender stereotypes, it’s easy for children to be confined into narrow sets of emotions, interests, and ways of relating to others. Gender Spectrum also works with professionals, including educators, social workers, faith leaders, medical and mental health professionals, government and business leaders and others who need support in navigating rapidly changing gender understandings.
You may find that at some point in your journey that you will need information or counseling. Sometimes not having somebody to talk to or relate to is the hardest part. The Trevor Project may be just the resource you need. Reaching counseling has never been easier and inclusive. A startling statistic is that young LGBTQ people are four times more likely to attempt suicide. The Trevor Project’s mission is to end suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning young people. The Trevor Project is the only national 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for LGBTQ young people under 25, available at 1-866-488-7386.
And finally, sometimes the power of connection is something that a family needs. That’s where TransFamilies comes in. Families of gender diverse children often feel a sense of personal isolation, challenges finding accurate resources, and an inability to make connections with other families who have shared experiences. TransFamilies makes a commitment to helping parents of gender diverse children, tweens, and teenagers. Openly sharing experiences that once felt alienating is an integral part in maintaining a sense of community, and finding clarity while navigating through unfamiliar waters.
A final word
Life is full of questions, and for most of us there is no easy answer. More often than not it takes a village to progress as individuals, and also as a society. With a little bit of kindness, understanding, and open-mindedness, we can all find our own way to b.visible. Everybody deserves to be seen and heard. Even if the voice is coming from the back of the room, its input still has value. As we all continue to find better ways to share our time and space with one another, we have resources and connections in the present to help us stay on the path to our own truths. So on this day, let’s try to b.compassionate and b.understanding so everybody has a chance to b.visible.