Charlotte Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) is taking a different form this year, with both virtual and in-person components. The virtual event will take place on Wednesday, March 31, at 6 p.m. Through the #AuthenticMe campaign, participants of TDOV will be able to post photos and create videos of their “authentic” selves. 

Facilitators of the event are reminding potential participants that TDOV is not exclusive to gender expansive (i.e. not cisgender) persons or even to LGBTQ identified persons. The purpose of the #AuthenticMe campaign, according to Bethany Corrigan, Executive Director of Transcend Charlotte, is “to highlight the authenticity and beauty of the trans and gender expansive community of Charlotte.” Although allies may join in, she explains, the purpose of TDOV is to celebrate gender expansive individuals, rather than cisgendered allies making it about themselves.

Corrigan went on to say that the hashtag, as well as the TDOV celebrations, should in no way be a means to pressuring Charlotteans to put themselves in precarious situations. Transcend Charlotte has made it their mission to create physical and psychological safe spaces for gender expansive individuals and does not want anyone who may not be out to their families, coworkers, or general community to put themselves at risk for the sake of the #AuthenticMe campaign.

Another aspect of TDOV 2021 are the “celebration boxes.” Set aside specifically for individuals in the trans and gender expansive community, they will serve as (sort of) pre-party favors that are available for pickup at the Time Out Youth Center on a first come first serve basis. These boxes will contain LGBTQ merchandise as well as several surprise donations from local businesses who are aiming to bridge the gap between virtual and  physical. 

“Transgender Day of Visibility would not be possible without generosity and partnership,” Corrigan explains.

This year’s TDOV partners are Charlotte Black Pride, Charlotte Pride, Freedom for Social Justice, Gender Education Network, PFLAG Charlotte, and Time Out Youth. Charlotte Pride is responsible for the technological setup of TDOV and will be working closely with Transcend Charlotte to ensure that TDOV is a secure experience for performers and audience members alike. The online platform will not be Zoom, but instead a service that does not allow outside recordings or inappropriate and offensive language.

TDOV is the second Transcend Charlotte event since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. In 2020, Transgender Day of Remembrance took place online. 

 “It was challenging to organize break-out rooms with counselors and help people process their feelings without being face-to-face,” Corrigan recalls. “Even though these hurdles were overcome, I believe there is space for Transcend Charlotte to continue offering virtual services, as well as returning to in-person services [after COVID-19 is no longer an issue].”

To RSVP for the virtual TDOV event, go to bit.ly/2PcjzbQ.

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