Today, like every March 31st, is the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
The purpose of the day, according to Human Rights Campaign, is a time to celebrate transgender people around the globe and the courage it takes to live openly and authentically, while also raising awareness around the discrimination trans people still face.
I fully believe that each time we leave the house and interact with people in the real world we have an opportunity and an obligation to show others that transpeople live in the community and not just in Hollywood. It’s a chance to show others, whether it’s the cashier at the mall, the barista at Starbucks or someone we pass in the store that we really exist, that we are real people and hopefully not as different as some might think we are.
One of the goals behind the MN T-Girls is to create awareness of transwomen in the real world. I believe that when the group goes out to dinner that we are doing a quiet form of activism. We are showing the world (well, at least the other people at the restaurant) that we exist and will hopefully leave others with a positive perception of he transcommunity.
Not at all of are ready to interact in the real world as the gender we want to present as, whether it’s full time or just for a fun afternoon of shopping. It took me a while to prepare myself but I started to build courage when I spoke with a friend of mine who revealed she was transgender. I had known her for years and one day she came out as transgender. She was an inspiration and patiently answered so many of my questions. I asked how she dealt with people staring at her but she told me that no one cares. People don’t pay as much attention to others as you think they do. I didn’t believe this at first but once I left my house for the first time I realized she was right.
Her being a visible transwoman was an inspiration to me. I only hope I can be that inspiration to someone else.
Being out in the community will sometimes trigger conversations from others. I know I’m transgender, the rest of the world knows I’m transgender and sometimes people will interact with me on that basis. Some will compliment me in a way to show that they are an ally, some might not. Some will ask questions, but to be honest that doesn’t happen very often. It’s not really polite to “clock” someone who is trans and most people know that.
There are a few things to do today and Trans Student Educational Resources has a list of ten things you can do.
Have fun, be safe.