Hi, I’m Alexus, and I’m the Trans Wellbeing Support Worker at Birmingham LGBT Centre. Today, I want to talk a bit about what Trans Day of Visibility (TDoV), and what it means to me personally.
TDoV is an annual international event on the 31 March which is dedicated to celebrating trans people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by trans people worldwide. It is also a celebration of our contributions to society.
The first event took place on 31 March 2009, and is a counterpoint to Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR), which mourns those trans people whose lives have been taken by acts of violence and murder. In 2009, TDoR was the only well-known trans-centred day, and there was no similar day set aside to acknowledge and celebrate living members of the trans community.
I find TDoR to be very emotionally draining and difficult to deal with, and I’m sure that I am not the only one to feel like that. It is a sombre day, an important day, but we also need to be joyful and celebrate our lives. We need to do this because as TDoR shows us, the world can be a dark and dangerous place, and we need some light to pierce that darkness.
Now, you may think that trans people are visible, after all it sometimes seems that we are always on the telly or in the newspapers, and trans-related articles seem all the rage these days. Some are good but to me it often feels as if our lives are being discussed and debated as if we are interesting specimens, and that is not a good feeling to have.
As a community we do have a fairly high profile, and I think that is generally a good thing. It does, or should, raise awareness which hopefully then dispels ignorance and in turn creates acceptance and understanding. Which is all anyone wants.
TDoV is important as I do think it may help that process. But…
We are individuals who sometimes face our daily lives in a climate of fear and what ifs; what if someone shouts at me, what if I’m misgendered, what if, what if? Embracing visibility is not always something that we may feel comfortable in doing, and if you wonder why, then remember what TDoR is there for.
Does that mean we should ignore TDoV? Emphatically not. I believe it is important that we celebrate our lives, celebrate what we do and who we are. We need to know that we matter, not just as a set of grim statistics but as people who live, love, laugh and cry.
So, be joyous and shine that light into the darkness.
Thanks for reading.