International Transgender Day of Visibility (also sometimes known as TDOV) is celebrated annually on March 31. This day was started by Rachel Crandell-Crocker in 2009. She created the day out of a desire to provide more narratives about trans and gender-diverse people than the tragic, violent deaths of (mostly Black) trans women remembered in November for Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR). Crandell-Crocker chose the date of March 31 more out of convenience than significance, because it is “far enough away from TDOR in November and Pride Month in June that it wouldn’t conflict with either”. Since 2009, millions of people have started to observe and celebrate this day, and the resilience and joy of trans folks everywhere.
Why Trans Day of Visibility is important
As we continue to see time and again, representation matters. TDOR focuses on honouring the memory of trans and gender-non-conforming (GNC) people who have been murdered in the preceding 12 months, through advocacy, collective mourning, and direct action. TDOV is a hopeful day, meant to highlight the happiness and thrival of trans people, to balance the collective mourning that trans communities face every day.
By focusing on the living for a particular day, it provides the community with hope and visibility beyond the all-too-frequent tragedy that impacts trans folks in particular. It is important to acknowledge and celebrate our trans neighbours and friends in particular, because they can often be overshadowed by more broadly-reaching Pride celebrations. And trans people experience significantly more discrimination than cisgendered folks, queer or otherwise.
How to Celebrate Trans Pride on TDOV
Here are 5 suggestions for celebrating Trans Day of Visibility and making your workplace more inclusive of trans and GNC folks every day.
Include pronouns in introductions, email signatures, name tags, etc. Normalizing the sharing of pronouns helps to reduce assumptions about people’s gender presentation, and avoid misgendering (intentional or unintentional).
Make reparations or donations to trans care organizations. To get started, look at PFLAG Canada (including our local Edmonton chapter!), Egale, and the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity. Each of these organizations provide education for allies, support for community members, and do work to create safer spaces for all 2SLGBTQIA+ folks.
Raise awareness and advocate for trans rights. Donate to or support research and movements such as Working for Change – a Two-Spirit and Trans Un(der)employment Study. Research the work that the organizations listed above are engaged with, and find out how you can support that work. Be vocal in your own communities about the work that they do!
Share stories of trans people’s success and thrival. Look to the advocacy groups above for a place to start, or ask your trans friends and colleagues how they would like to be celebrated. A saying often invoked during TDOV is to “give people their flowers while they can still smell them”; in other words, notice, appreciate, and celebrate them while they are alive, so that they can continue to live, and do so happily.
Don’t just celebrate on this one day. Trans people deserve happiness and celebration every day, not just once per year. Make your contributions and actions sustainable and continuous. Like all forms of allyship, it should be a consistent effort to strive for a safer, more equitable world for all, year-round.
We would love to know in the comments below what your organization is doing to be a safe space for trans employees . Remember MT Consulting Group is always here to help.