For many people, March 31 represents another average day. Some may be planning for Spring Break, while others may be eagerly awaiting April Fools. However, to the LGBTQ+ community, March 31 represents an important day of celebration known as the Transgender Day of Visibility. Founded in 2009 by transgender activist Rachel Crandall, the day is an annual celebration of the successes of transgender and non-binary individuals.
Unfortunately, this year’s Transgender Day of Visibility comes at a time of great turmoil and distress for many transgender individuals. For instance, Arkansas just became the first American state to to prohibit doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth. Furthermore, South Dakota’s governor issued an executive order banning transgender athletes from women’s sports. This action is part of a larger movement towards prohibiting transgender youth from particpating in gendered sports that align with their gender identity. Other states that are following in this direction include Arkansas and Tennessee.
Additionally, the super straight movement is gaining traction on many social media sites. This ideology, which first gained popularity on Tiktok, represents a group of people who state that they would only date individuals who were born of and identify as the opposite gender. For many, the issue arises with the identification of being super straight as a sexual orientation within the LGBTQ. As Clark Hamil, a gender and sexuality educator, aptly describes, “Being straight is just as valid as being gay, being lesbian, being bisexual, being pansexual or any other sexuality that exists. Being ‘super straight,’ however, is coming up with a label to specifically exclude an entire group of diverse people, that is rooted in stereotypes, falsehoods and a lack of respect. It is not a sexuality, nor is it a marginalized group” (insidehook.com). All of this, and more, culminates into a situation in which celebration and hope within the transgender community is difficult.
However, the Transgender Day of Visibility also comes at a time of good news regarding the representation and rights of transgender people. Just recently, the Pentagon issued new policies reversing the ban on transgender troops, thus allowing such individuals to serve their country under their preferred gender. Moreover, Stella Keating became the first transgender teen to testify before the U.S Senate on March 17.
In entertainment, Leyna Bloom became the first Black and Asian American transgender swimsuit model for Sports Illustrated just weeks ago. In addition, Elliot Page, best known for his work on the Netflix show “The Umbrella Academy” and the movie “Inception”, became the first transgender man to appear on the cover of Time Magazine.
Finally, more and more individuals are gaining an understanding of the struggles and experiences of transgender people. Consider all of the people, including myself, who became aware of the existence of the Transgender Visibility Day this year. Along with this, social media became a positive outlet to spread awareness and support for the transgender community yesterday. Essentially, the day was able to not only celebrate transgender people, but also raise awareness of key issues regarding the LGBTQ community.
Although the Transgender Day of Visibility has come and gone, the fight for greater equality and representation never stops. With this day in mind, let’s take steps as a society to create an accepting and inclusive culture for all.