Yesterday, like every March 31, was International Transgender Day of Visibility. The event is meant to be A Celebration of Transgender Lives, in contrast with Transgender Day of Remembrance, the day on which we mourn those who have been killed.
If you haven’t heard of this before, it’s understandable. It has not been widely observed since its founding by Transgender Michigan Executive Director Rachel Crandall-Crocker in 2009.
As we like to say, transgender lives are livable because transgender lives are lived.
Fashion model Geena Rocero has certainly been visible this month. Earlier in March, Geena gave a spoke at the 2014 TED Conference in British Columbia.
Geena has come out in a big way, fully activated. She also published an essay at CNN Opinion, in which she announced the launch of a new effort to advance understanding of transgender people and provide resources to people working locally to create change in our condition, called Gender Proud.
Today I am launching Gender Proud, which envisions a world where transgender individuals are able to self-identify with the fewest possible barriers.Geena describes Gender Proud as an advocacy & awareness campaign that aims to advance the rights of all transgender individuals. You can, if you wish, sign a petition by Gender Proud at change.org. They are hoping for 200,000 signatures. So far there almost 415.
In most of the Western world, conceptions of gender remain very rigid, but that exists alongside progressive legal systems that afford transgender individuals some limited rights.
There are varying differences of understanding between Eastern and Western cultures, and I hope Gender Proud can create a new understanding. We are partnering with All Out to identify countries where legislation is at a "tipping point," and we plan to funnel resources to on-the-ground activists and organizations working to create change.
As a proud transgender woman, I'm standing up for the right of transgender individuals around the world to freely and legally define their identities -- and I need your help!In an effort to help people understand, early this month the Human Rights Campaign released some videos debunking some of the myths surrounding us:
MYTH: Surgery is top priority:
MYTH: Providing transgender-inclusive medical benefits is prohibitively expensive
MYTH: Children are too young to know they are transgender
MYTH: Transgender healthcare is “special care”
Issuu.com has a Transgender Visibility Guide produced by HRC.
I know a lot of transfolk have hard feelings about the HRC. In the interests of full disclosure, I was once part of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force when I lived in Arkansas as a Director of Education for the Arkansas Gay and Lesbian Task Force. On the other hand, at one time when I was a child my best friend was Terrence Bean, one of the founders of the HRC, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and the National Gay Games.
Cathy Renna was prompted by Geena’s TED Talk to write What’s Between Your Legs?: Thoughts on International Day of Visibility at Edge on the Net.