International Trans Day of Visibility Still Celebrated Despite Quarantine

“Protect transgender students” by vpickering, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

As holidays and celebrations worldwide are put on hold amidst the coronavirus pandemic, trans and nonbinary individuals cannot take off their identities in a crisis. March 31, 2020 marks the twelfth annual international Trans Day of Visibility, and organizers are taking pains to recognize the achievements and struggles of trans and nonbinary individuals while practicing social distancing.

Across the internet, politicians and public officials tweeted their support for trans individuals. Senator Bernie Sanders today reaffirmed that trans individuals “deserve to live in dignity and security” and issued a call to “end hatred and bigotry towards trans Americans,” while former Vice President Joe Biden said that he is “proud to stand with the trans community.”

The need to recognize and accept trans individuals could not be more apparent, as 2019 saw the murder of 330 trans and nonbinary people worldwide – at least 30 of which occurred in the United States. So far in 2020, at least five trans Americans have been murdered:

The rate of violence experienced by the trans community, particularly among trans women of color, has been described as an “epidemic.”

While officials nationwide deal with the viral epidemic of COVID-19, Idaho Governor Brad Little yesterday found time to sign two anti-transgender bills into law. House Bill 500 prohibits trans students from playing in co-ed sports on a team different than that of their gender assigned at birth (a similar bill was proposed in Louisiana but not yet debated). House Bill 509 prohibits trans individuals from changing the sex listed on their birth certificate.

Last year, Mayor Cantrell issued a statement in solidarity with the trans community. In November the City of New Orleans received a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign’s “Municipal Equality Index.” The mayor has established an Office of Human Rights and Equality, which now has the authority to hear discrimination complaints.

Since 2015, eight Louisianians have died due to anti-trans violence. Louisiana Trans Advocates notes that the numbers may be higher due to police misgendering victims. In New Orleans, Penny Proud, 21, was killed in 2015; Goddess Diamond, 20, was killed in 2016; and Chyna Gibson, 31, was killed in 2017. 

In honor of Trans Day of Visibility, electronic singer and songwriter FLAVIA released a single “Them.” 

“It is so important that cis allies support and help lift up the gender-nonconforming communities that haven’t been allowed the same opportunities as binary folks,” FLAVIA said in a statement about the release.

To celebrate Trans Day of Visibility, the Trevor Project today released an illustrated resource booklet, titled a “Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth.” This guide explains the differences between sex and gender, different pronouns and how to use them, the basics of gender expression, and other helpful tips on understanding the experiences of trans and nonbinary individuals. You can read the guide here

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