This year’s annual Transgender Day of Visibility falls on March 31, the day after the notorious HB2 was repealed at long last. But on this day that celebrates the lives and journeys of transgender people, it is important to remember that the fight for acceptance remains very real for those identifying with the T of LGBTQ.
“Now more than ever, it’s important for everyone to show up for trans rights,” wrote Bustle‘s Mia Mercado. “From the Trump administration’s attacks on the rights of transgender students to the removal of LGBT questions on the 2020 Census to the recent rise in murder rate of transgender people, the livelihood, visibility, and basic human rights of people who are transgender are being threatened. If you believe in equal human rights for all, Transgender Day of Visibility is a great time to show that support.”
In North Carolina, the day may need more emphasis than ever. While HB 142 did repeal HB2 — the discriminatory “bathroom bill” that nullified local non-discrimination ordinances and mandated that transgender people use the public facilities matching their birth sex — HB 142 still stipulated that bathroom regulation was the responsibility of the state, not local governments, and it prevents any local governments from passing non-discrimination protections that protect the LGBTQ community.
So on this Transgender Day of Visibility, it is vital to recognize that transgender people are still fighting for the right to exist in public spaces. They still experience discrimination and even hate violence. Eight transgender women of color have been murdered thus far in 2017.
The Day of Visibility is not meant for mourning, however. Its purpose is to celebrate, and to fight. To honor the day, the LGBTQ community must recognize the accomplishments and bravery of its transgender members. Without these people, our community would not have come nearly so far.
“Visibility and awareness aren’t enough to protect our community, and so we are working to highlight what trans people and communities are doing,” says Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER) Director Eli Erlick. “Trans people have incredible accomplishments that often go under-recognized and undervalued; we are using this platform to bring attention to our successes and end transphobia internationally.”
The theme of this year’s Day of Visibility is #TransResistance. In an era of such turmoil, when the lives and bathroom habits of transgender people are directly in the public eye, the day is meant to inspire action. Naturally, the day is meant for allies as well as transgender people themselves. Bustle‘s Lea Rose Emery wrote to encourage feminists to take part.
“Trans folk have contributed huge amounts to our society and are so often under-appreciated— and, far worse, persecuted for who they are,” wrote Emery. “Taking the opportunity to celebrate them shouldn’t be missed. Being an ally means stepping up to the plate when it matters.”