International Transgender Day of Visibility
This blog post is part of an ongoing series on transgender issues authored by EQ AZ Board Member Juli Myers.
Today marks the observance of the International Day of Transgender Visibility, a holiday dedicated to the celebration of transgender people and bringing attention to the discrimination against which we fight daily. This is the seventh year that the International Day of Transgender Visibility is observed, having been founded by a frustrated Rachel Crandall, an American activist, who wanted an observance celebrating the lives of trans people to contrast the only existing observance, the Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual memorial observed every November.
Why is it important to observe a day like this? We are already acknowledged and observed as part of the LGBT community, and we all stand together as one to end transphobic discrimination, right? Sadly, the reality is that we not only face discrimination everywhere at a much higher rate than that experienced by the LGB community, but we also face it regularly from those allies. There is a lack of education about the trans experience that is evident every day to those of us who live and work within the LGBT community, and many times, we are afraid to make waves because, “Hey…at least they let us in the club.”
Not all trans people take the transphobia with a grain of salt and not all are quiet about it, but my experience has been that we tend to be more patient with the slights from friends than we are with the slights of foes. Much of the insensitivity with which we are forced to deal comes from a simple lack of education, but there is a strain of willing ignorance in our community about the trans experience that we must address as we move forward beyond the fight for marriage equality and into the fight for employment, housing, and medical non-discrimination.
Recently, a friend shared with me that she heard of me being referred to as a “tranny” by a lesbian in our social circle. It was not the first time I had heard this slur used about me or one of my friends by people within our community, but I do hope that it will be the last. Such comments are degrading and dismissive, and they have no place among allies, especially allies in a fight that has seen us all bloodied and bruised.
It is not my intention to be so negative in discussing what, after all, is a celebration, but the facts are that the discrimination being highlighted by the IDOTV is everywhere, even in our own back yard, and it will only be eliminated when we stop pretending it is invisible.