Transgender Day of Visibility; Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Visibility is the opposite of “out of sight, out of mind.” When transgender people are visible, they become our neighbors, family members, friends, and colleagues. It becomes harder to ignore a community when you see them on a regular basis on the train, at the grocery store, on TV, at work, etc. That is the definition of normalcy. When something becomes normal and familiar to you, it is no longer scary and threatening.
Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, 2014, is important because it creates a space for trans people and cisgender people to engage with one another, raise awareness , celebrate differences and hopefully move toward a society and culture where trans people/kids/families are embraced, not shamed.
This day is especially important for transgender women of color because of the high levels of violence and incarceration experienced within this community. In addition, the levels of poverty, HIV, homelessness, drug use and suicide are staggeringly high. Visibility of the trans community encourages other trans people to be visible and supports them in coming out , despite the well-founded fears of violence, harassment, job loss and all the other unfortunate lived realities of trans people. Visibility enables a community to have pride and builds self-esteem. There is power in being told you are beautiful, you are strong. Affirmation leads to self acceptance, and self acceptance can lead to pride.
There are more and more trans people in the media providing positive and affirming role models for the trans community. This type of visibility is normalizing the trans experience and allowing cisgender people an opportunity to learn more about the complexity of gender and gender identity. At the end of the day, Transgender Day of Visibility is about embracing our allies, celebrating progress and changing society for the better. With this movement comes the hope that our communities/society can move beyond our fear of the unknown, embrace our transgender brother and sisters, and truly “see” the beauty in our differences. Visibility = Humanity.