This post was written by Celena Morrison, Executive Director of the Office of LGBT Affairs.
March 31 is Transgender (Trans) Day of Visibility, an annual, internationally-celebrated holiday dedicated to transgender people. The celebration honors the work they’ve done, the losses they’ve endured, and the successes they’ve achieved. In recognition of the holiday, the Office of LGBT Affairs is sharing 10 ideas for how to support trans people in your community today and every day.
- Go to local Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) events—virtually. Given ongoing concerns about COVID-19, we encourage folks to follow the latest guidance from the Department of Public Health about attending public events in Philadelphia. At this time, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited. However, there are TDOV events happening all around the world, see what options there are to participate virtually, and use #TDOV, #TransResistance, or #MoreThanVisibility on social media to share your experience.
- Learn about trans history. Did you know that trans women of color were on the front lines of Stonewall? That a transgender man helped fund the New Age Movement? That a transgender woman exposed the U.S. government’s war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan? Our history is full of interesting facts and events!
- Support trans-led organizations. Less than 10 percent of grants going to LGBTQ organizations go to trans-led ones. Many trans organizations run on donations from people like you! Find organizations run by trans people to support in your community today.
- Don’t out your trans friends. It may be Transgender Day of Visibility, but sometimes trans folks don’t want to be or aren’t safe being visible. Always ask first!
- Know the differences between gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth, sexuality, and emotional attraction. Also know to ALWAYS refer to a trans person by their gender identity and not their sex assigned at birth. Gender is also much more complicated than the sex/gender/sexuality distinction. Learn more here.
- Recognize the intersections of transness and other identities. This includes race, sexuality, class, disability, citizenship, and more. Recognition does not just entail acknowledgment, it means action and centering trans women of color.
- Make women’s spaces encompassing of trans women. If you have access to women’s spaces, make sure it is not exclusionary of trans women. Whether it’s a women’s college, party, or music event, trans women are women and deserve to be part of these spaces. Also recognize that we need more than inclusion: the entire space must be rethought in how it perpetuates transmisogyny.
- Learn trans terminology. Trans language is always changing and important to know. There are resources available to learn some trans terminology.
- Tell people when they say something transphobic or cissexist. This may be calling out, calling in, or a different form of recognition. Accountability is vital for our community!
- Celebrate—and fight for—trans lives. This is Transgender Day of Visibility—it’s the time for education, empowerment, and action! Join the celebration. Start a protest. Host a movie night. Organize a rally. Make the world a better place for transgender people.