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Trans Day of Visibility – More than Visibility, by Alicia Rubel & Jacki Yovanoff

It is Trans Day of Visibility this Thursday March 31. Trans Day of Visibility is a day to celebrate the accomplishments of trans and gender nonconforming people and to raise awareness of the ways that trans people continue to face oppression.

The mission of Trans Day of Visibility is important because the opposite of visibility is erasure. Trans representation counters the widespread avoidance, refusal to acknowledge, and suppression of transgender people. It is about the lack of representation in books, movies, tv, in school resources. It is about our binary systems and assumptions. “Visibility” matters in that being seen matters. Positive representation matters. It allows trans people to put words to feelings, connect with others, and feel seen. It can even help someone realize they are trans. We may read a story, or see someone on tv or a movie; maybe it’s a teacher or doctor, or someone sitting on city council or school board, and it’s an aha moment of, “Oh wow. They’re just like me!”

While we value this day and share in its mission, the idea of “trans visibility” also brings up some more complicated feelings for us, much of which are well summed up by Alok Vaid-Menon’s piece Beyond Trans Visibility.

Alok writes “Trans is who we are, not what we look like” asks “Why do we have to become visible in order to be taken seriously?” and points out that “The same system that will require trans people to be visible will not give institutional support to us when we are harassed precisely because we are visible.”

Read Alok Vaid-Menon’s original post here:

No one owes anyone else visibility. However for many of us it can feel like being caught in a double bind. We can’t safely be visible without justice but it is is hard to work toward justice for trans people when the world refuses to see us. We have a lot of work to do to make sure our world is safe. That work should not fall at the hands of trans people.

Lots of love to all the trans folks reading this – whether you are “visible”, experiencing erasure, staying safe, or just keeping private.

Alok is a writer, performer, and public speaker, and they were recently seen in the “Can We Say Bye-Bye to the Binary?” episode of Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness (found on Netflix).

The City of Kitchener will be raising the transgender flag on Thursday, March 31 at 9:30am at the corner of Duke and Young Streets.

Trans Wellness Ontario has an online event taking place from 5:00 – 7:30 pm Thursday, March 31.

Credit to @transwellnessontario on Instagram, as a source for some content in this post. Check them out for more.