International Trans Day of Visibility
International Trans Day of Visibility is a yearly event that spread awareness and recognition to the trans community and their achievements and contributions to our society. Trans day of visibility is also a very important day for bringing attention to the adversity and violence faced by the trans community across the world.
The event was started by a US transgender activist Rachel Crandall, from Michigan, in 2009 to increase the worldwide recognition of trans people. Rachel and the rest of the trans community were disappointed that the only day of transgender commemoration was Transgender Day of Remembrance, which mourned the countless victims of violence and trans hate crime. While this is an absolutely vital day, it fails to celebrate the living members of the trans community across the world and the value they add to our society.
What does it mean to be transgender?
A transgender person is a person whose personal identity and gender doesn’t correspond to their sex at birth. Trans people might feel like they’re trapped in the wrong body and make efforts to transition from one gender to another. This might be through hormone therapy or surgery (or a combination of both). Other support is available such as counselling and speech and language therapy to help the person sound more typical of their true gender identity. Not every trans person will transition in the same way or receive the same type of support but that doesn’t make their transition or gender identity any less valid.
Accessing hormone treatments and starting a transition medically is a very lengthy process and often takes years, countless doctors and psychiatrist visits before access to these treatments is available. Some trans people will start their transition before puberty and take puberty blocking drugs to avoid the onset of unwanted features like breasts or body hair. Many trans people won’t start their transition until early adulthood or later and this might be for a number of reasons. Some trans people face objections from family meaning transition isn’t possible when they still rely on parental consent or whilst they are living under someone else’s roof. Many of the medical options available won’t be made available to trans people until they are older and that doctors can ensure they are fully informed and sure of their choice.
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-known and high-profile members of the trans community. These actors, models, and internet stars are some of the most well-known trans celebs, but the list doesn’t end here by any means, and you should look out for the countless numbers of brilliant and talented trans people working in the public eye.
Laverne Cox is best known for her role on the smash hit Netflix show, Orange is the New Black. In 2014 she became the first openly trans person to be featured on the cover of Time Magazine. She has won many awards for her acting and producing work for her own shows such as Emmy awards in both acting and production, being the first trans person to win them in some categories.
Chaz is the only child of the pop duo Sonny and Cher. Chaz appeared on his parent’s TV shows as a little girl but began his transition many years later. He transitioned in a very public way, even documenting the processing a docu-film called “Becoming Chaz”.
US model Hari Neff made her fashion debut in 2015, walking in New York Fashion Week. She quickly gained popularity and was soon signed by IMG models, as the first trans model for the agency. IMG models is arguably the biggest and most prestigious modelling agency in the world, representing the likes of Bella Hadid and Karlie Kloss.
NikkieTutorials (real name Nikki De Jager) is a Dutch makeup artist that found fame on YouTube. She quickly grew in popularity, amassing a follower count that currently stands at 13.8 million people. Nikki shocked the YouTube community last year when she came out as transgender after being blackmailed. She found nothing but love form her following and continues to dominate the beauty world.
Elliot page is an actor who found fame through TV and films like Juno and Trailer Park Boys. Elliot has spent most of his career presenting as female and only last year came out as trans and has now started his transition. Elliot has been talking recently about the pressure he felt to not come out by those around him in Hollywood who said it would ruin him. Like many other trans celebs, Elliot has had an outpour of support from his fans and those he works with.
Transphobia and violence
While Trans Day of Visibility’s main focus is on the positive, it’s important to highlight the transphobia and violence that is faced by trans people and the trans community all over the world.
Transgender people are much more likely to experience violence than cisgender people (cisgender means your gender identity is the same as the sex you had at birth). One study found that on average trans people experienced 4 times more violence than cisgender people. Another study based here in the UK found that 4 out of 5 trans people have experienced a hate crime between 2019 and 2020 and half of trans people have experienced an attack in the street. 70% of the people in this same study said this transphobia has been detrimental to their mental health and more than half had contemplated suicide.
A figure is released every year for Transgender Day of Remembrance of the number of trans people who have been murdered all over the world, and the 2020 figure was the highest on record. In 2020, more than 350 people were brutally murdered in transphobic hate crimes in the most brutal and hateful ways. Some of them were shot, others suffocated, and some were burned alive. The youngest person on last year’s list was only 15 years old.
International Trans Day of Visibility is joyful and uplifting day where we celebrate the trans community and all they’ve done to enrich our lives, but also when we think about the struggles that the trans community face. Whist our society is becoming more tolerant and accepting, there’s still a very long way to go for trans acceptance. If you’re not part of the LGBT+ community, you can still show our support by being an ally. To be a good ally you should call out ignorant comments, be kind and tolerant and support LGBT+ charities that help the most vulnerable amongst us. Together we should all strive for a loving and accepting world for us to live in.