Happy International Transgender Day of Visibility! What is it, and when did it start?

International Transgender Day of Visibility takes place anually on March 31 (Karollyne Hubert/Unsplash)
International Transgender Day of Visibility takes place anually on March 31 (Karollyne Hubert/Unsplash)

International Transgender Day of Visibility takes place today (Friday, March 31). It is an annual day to officially celebrate the experiences and achievements of trans and gender-diverse people worldwide.

The day was founded by transgender activist Rachel Crandall of Michigan in 2009 in response to the lack of LGBTQ+ recognition of transgender people. Ms Crandall was frustrated that the only well-known transgender-centered day was the Transgender Day of Remembrance. This mourned the murders of transgender people, but did not acknowledge and celebrate living members of the transgender community.

What is International Transgender Day of Visibility?

International Transgender Day of Visibility, which takes place anually on March 31, is intended to celebrate transgender people. It also brings attention to the prejudice that transgender people suffer around the world and recognise their contributions to society.

The LGBT Foundation recognises that there is a lot of pressure on trans and non-binary people to conform, change and prove their gender to others. It believes that all trans people, regardless of identity, expression, or orientation, are enough just as they are.

International Transgender Day of Visibility also provides an opportunity for trans and non-binary people to feel seen through positive and realistic representation — and for allies to learn more about how they can stand in solidarity.

When did it start?

The first International Transgender Day of Visibility was held on March 31, 2009. It has since been spearheaded by the US-based youth advocacy organisation Trans Student Educational Resources

President Joe Biden officially proclaimed March 31, 2021, as a Transgender Day of Visibility, saying: “I call upon all Americans to join in the fight for full equality for all transgender people.” Mr Biden was the first American president to issue a formal presidential proclamation recognising the event.

How is it celebrated around the world?

Many transgender people took part in a social media campaign in 2015 on sites including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Participants shared selfies, personal accounts, data on transgender issues, and other relevant materials to boost exposure and promote awareness.

Last year, instead of a single-day event, Trans Pride Scotland organised a week of online performances and workshops.

In Japan, an authorised LGBT support Non-Profit Corporation called Rebit fosters a social environment that embraces diversity each year on this day. It participates in three activities which include: school training, leadership support for businesses and for LGBTQ youth leaders and empowerment and youth career support business.

How you can show your support

  1. Support trans-led organisations. Trans-led organisations receive less than 10 per cent of donations given to LGBTQ organisations. The funding for many trans organisations comes from supporters like you. Discover trans-owned organisations in your neighbourhood to help right now.

  2. Celebrate,and fight for, trans lives. It's a suitable time for education, empowerment, and action since today is International Transgender Day of Visibility. Participate in the festivities. Launch a protest. Host a film night. Plan a protest. Improve the environment for transgender people.

  3. Recognise the intersections of transness and other identities. This encompasses factors including citizenship, colour, sexual orientation, class, and more. Recognition entails more than just acknowledgment; it also entails taking action and elevating trans women of colour.