Transgender Day of Visibility 2022
March 31st marks the annual International Transgender Day of Visibility. It was founded in 2009 by transgender activist Rachel Crandall, of Michigan, as a response to the lack of recognition of transgender people within the LGBT community. Since then, the day has been used to uplift the transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) community while also bringing awareness to the work that still needs to be done to achieve complete transgender equity.1
Transgender Day of Visibility celebrates the lives of TGNC people and showcases that they are everyday people worthy of love and respect; friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers. Janelle Drake, a transgender woman and volunteer with The Affirming Spaces Project and Seacoast Outright, spoke about being visible in areas of her life where the LGBTQ+ community are not often represented.
“I grew up in the Boy Scouts of America and earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the mid-2000s,” she said, “but I always felt I had to hide my gender identity or risk being ostracized from the program. Since BSA lifted a ban on gay youth in 2013 and allowed girls into the program in 2019, I’m even more motivated to help out at summer camps and other programs now. If I can show just one kid that it’s okay to be their true self and still participate in the things they enjoy, my day would be made.” Janelle continued, “Similarly, I work professionally as a mechanical engineer, so I always enjoy speaking on STEM panels for schools when given the chance. It’s truly a wonderful thing to see LGBTQ+ students realize that not only can they be successful in their chosen technical fields, but having diversity on any team leads to greater problem solving abilities due to the range of backgrounds being brought to the table.”
As for the issues of the moment, 2022 has been one of the hardest hitting years for TGNC people in recent U.S. history. Just three months into the year, 154 anti-transgender bills have been introduced into legislature, most of which are seeking to ban transgender youth from participating in sports or to reduce access to life-saving gender-affirming healthcare. In New Hampshire, this includes SB 2310, HB 198, A 1630, and HB 1180.2 Texas governor Greg Abbott has also called on citizens to report supportive parents of transgender children to authorities for child abuse charges.3
Despite how bleak the situation may seem, there have been some rays of hope counteracting these bills, sometimes in surprising places. In Arizona, a Republican senator has broken with his party to block a ban on transgender healthcare4. In Utah, Governor Spencer Cox vetoed House Bill 11, which would have prevented transgender student athletes from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity.5
Do you want to support the transgender and gender non-conforming community? Here are some ways to do so!
- Listen to the stories and experiences of TGNC people in your networks. Be sure to use their self-identified pronouns and names at all times.
- Research any anti-transgender or pro-transgender bills that might be active in your state’s legislature. Write to your lawmakers in opposition to or in favor of each bill, or prepare a plan to speak at a hearing session.
- Donate money or volunteer time with pro-LGBTQ+ organizations like The Affirming Spaces Project, Seacoast Outright, Renaissance New England, Rural Outright, PFLAG, ACLU, or The Human Rights Campaign.