March 31st: International Day of Transgender Visibility

By LGBT+ Advancing Archives
Cover image for  article: March 31st: International Day of Transgender Visibility

What is it? International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual event occurring on March 31 dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as a celebration of their contributions to society. The intention is to involve all people from all countries to come together to acknowledge and affirm the identities and existence of transgender people as real, valid and valuable. The day was founded by Rachel Crandall of Michigan in 2009. As a transgender activist, Crandall created this day as a reaction to the lack of LGBT recognition of transgender people, citing the frustration that the only well-known transgender-centered day was the Transgender Day of Remembrance. This is an annual day to mourn and acknowledge the murders of transgender people. While this is crucially important, Crandall realized that the media and the world were only acknowledging the horrible atrocities against transgender people. She recognized the importance of seeing and celebrating living, thriving members of the transgender community. The world has since followed suit. The first International Transgender Day of Visibility was held on March 31, 2009.

Why Should We Participate?

According to a Forbes article, "There has no doubt been an increase in visibility in recent years, with an estimated 37% of Americans personally knowing someone who is transgender. That is an impressive number considering that it may be an underestimation, in that there are likely people that personally know a transgender person and are just unaware."

This means that many in your company either are or know someone who is transgender identified. By showing recognition and support, you lessen workplace bullying and self-harm risks.

How Can We Participate?

In the days leading up to March 31, send out staff and public-facing memos alerting them to what this day is, what it means and that you will be celebrating it.

You may choose to suggest that everyone wear a color in honor of transgender people. (The transgender flag is pink, white and blue, so you may want to choose from that group.) You might offer pins or ribbons or stickers with the transgender flag. You may also offer a company branded Zoom background that includes the transgender flag. You may want to utilize your social media to honor the day, including supportive statements and hashtags. This can be done from professional and business accounts as well as through leadership's personal accounts. Another option? Spend the day retweeting or reposting positive transgender information from others' social media accounts! This is an easy way to amplify their work and the messaging of inclusion and support.

This can also be the time when you announce what you are doing to show transgender support in the upcoming Pride events that typically occur in the summer. If you have charity donations to make, you could also use this day to announce donations to a transgender inclusive or transgender specific organization.

Struggling with what to offer during COVID or when you think your employees just need a work break? You can still participate in transgender visibility! PFLAG has suggested a few films which you may want to recommend to your staff or offer to screen onsite:

  • The Most Dangerous Year: Washington state-based filmmaker and PFLAGer Vlada Knowlton has created a much-awarded, must-see documentary about a small group of families with transgender kids who embarked on an uncharted journey of fighting for their children's lives and futures. Watch the trailer -- and schedule your own screening -- at the link.
  • America In Transition: Recently highlighted in the previous issue of The PFLAG Voice, this is a trans-led documentary series exploring relationships, family and social issues with trans people of color. Watch the trailer -- and schedule your own screening -- at the link.
  • Becoming More Visible: Filmmaker Pamela French shines a humanizing light on the stories of four fearless transgender young adults, showcasing the crucial importance of having a steady support system like PFLAG. Watch the trailer -- and schedule your own screening -- at the link.

Another option is to recommend reading certain books (or purchase and give copies to provide education to your employees). These may include autobiographies written by transgender people or a book on creating and maintaining a more inclusive workplace. This way, you are not only honoring the day, but you are also furthering education, acceptance and affirmation of transgender people!

Now It's Your Turn!

Tell us what your company does, is doing, or will be doing to increase Transgender Visibility! Contact us and tell us about it … we may just choose to profile your efforts in an upcoming piece!

In Solidarity.

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