Each year on March 31st, communities around the world celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility in support of the courage it takes to live openly somewhere outside the typical gender binary. It is important to recognize the leadership of transgender, transsexual, gender non-binary and gender nonconforming trailblazers who have fought and are fighting for equality every day. By fostering a world where the conversation about different gender identities is inclusive and welcoming, we are creating a world where everyone feels more comfortable to express themselves, regardless of where they fit on a variety of different spectrums.
From Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera to modern-day activists like Diego Sanchez, Masen Davis and Laverne Cox, our proud trans brothers and sisters who are presenting loud and proud are paving the way for new LGBTQ+ youths and individuals to find a new kind of role model. Huffington Post released an article early this week highlighting 42 Transgender Pioneers which you can read about here.
Highlighting individuals from a variety of circumstances and decades, the list consisted of people like Chaz Bono, the son of Cher and Sonny Bono. Chaz publicly revealed he was transitioning in 2009 and has since been one of the most visible members of the trans community. Janet Mock, the former People.com editor, has become a prominent voice and face for the trans community since coming out in 2010. Christine Jorgensen became the first widely known person to undergo gender confirmation surgery in 1952. The late trans activist, who died at 62 in 1989, decided the intrigued media wouldn’t dictate her image. Jorgensen openly spoke about her transition and once said, “I decided if they wanted to see me, they would have to pay for it.”
The HRC Foundation’s Transgender Visibility Guide is designed to help individuals and their loved ones through the coming out process in realistic and practical terms, providing guidance to meet the challenges and opportunities that living as authentically as possible can offer to each of us. You can read the Transgender Visibility Guide here.
The journey toward living openly and authentically looks different for everyone, and given the levels of violence and discrimination faced by transgender and gender nonconforming people, revealing and expressing one’s gender identity can be a complex and difficult process. This is why Transgender Day of Visibility is so vital to strengthening individuals to voice their journeys and share their stories with the public.