March 31st, 2010 is the second annual International Transgender Day of Visibility. Rachel Crandall, who leads Transgender Michigan, started the day last year and it’s already catching on in the community. Since Transgender Day of Remembrance is focused on remembering and mourning those we have lost to violence it is good to have a day to celebrate the amazing lives of trans folks as well. You can demonstrate your participation in the day by RSVPing to this Facebook event, which includes some info about local celebrations.
Visibility is a loaded concept for members of the transgender community. Being out about our transitions – or being outed – can be incredibly dangerous. Trans folks, especially trans women of color, are often barred from public spaces, discriminated against in employment, and experience high levels of harassment and violence. For those of us who identify as men or women, being out too often undermines our gender identities. “Transgender” is emphasized over “woman” – in the eyes of many people we will always really be our assigned gender. For many trans folks being out is not a choice – presentation or other people’s knowledge of their personal history means they cannot keep their transition private.