Today is the first celebration of what founder Rachel Crandall hopes will be an annual event, the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
One of the problems I've long complained about that has had serious repercussion with trans people's levels of acceptance in the African-American community and beyond is our lack of visibility.
Well, the International Day of Visibility wants to to change that.
Too many of us transition, then go into hiding because of the intolerance of society. We grapple with shame and guilt issues instead of being proud of who we are and having the courage to stand up and say 'I am a human being who happens to be transgender, and you will not disrespect me'
Maybe if for one day, we can get transpeople to stand up in large numbers where they don't feel alone, that will subsequently happen.
The International Transgender Day of Visibility seeks to make transpeople less of a mystery to cis folks, point out that transpeople are all around you in your daily lives and have played roles in shaping our culture and history.
This event is also an opportunity for the people who complain about the Transgender Day of Remembrance being 'too somber' to participate in an event that celebrates who we are. It's also another opportunity for our allies to stand in solidarity with us.
As the awareness of this March 31 day increases, it becomes better organized, gets more media attention and people have a year to plan events for TDOV 2011 there will probably be other things attached to the general framework of this day.
I can see future TDOV events with components such as panel discussions on our issues at various venues, trans specific coming out day ceremonies, trans themed pageants or teach ins about our history.
The possibilities and directions this day could take, especially when people put their unique cultural and international stamps on it are endless.
But I hope the overwhelming message that gets out on this day is that we exist, we're proud to be trans people, we are your sisters, brothers and family members.
I also pray that the other message resonating from this day is that as fellow human beings, we deserve to live our lives to the fullest and will not be deterred from doing so.
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