Honoring the true self and those who have perished while trying to imbue it.
Today is Transgender Day of Visibility and people from all over the country are making it clear that they are proud to be who they are while bringing awareness to the discrimination, injustice and marginalization which still plagues the community not only in the United States, but worldwide.
Transgender men and women challenge the would every day through bravery, perseverance, while enduring constant harassment. These individuals do not remain hidden behind their fears, but face them head-on even when those threats come from their own government.
“Bathroom bills,” “religious freedom” ordinances, workplace discrimination, public scrutiny, airport security, medical care: These brave men and women cannot hide who they are, nor do they want to and it is through this countenance they lead the way to remain genuine to themselves but remind everyone of the labor needed to rebuild the foundation of a country once cemented in hope.
Unfortunately, these attempts at finding acceptance have not come without cost. Already in 2017, eight transgender individuals have been killed at the hands of merciless criminals. The victims paying the ultimate price for just being themselves, living life from their hearts outward despite the risks they know exist.
Transgender Day of Visibility is a small but powerful period of activism; a day to proclaim the victories of plight, but honor those who have fallen in the treacherous journey.
The trans-inspired hashtag #MyVisibiltyIsRevolution makes a powerful statement about where the community is headed and why remaining in the public view is important.
San Diego activist Connor Maddocks says this day is important for many reasons, but this year it means more than perhaps any in the past.
"Today is Trans Day of Visibility, a day when my transgender community stands up loud and proud to remind everyone that we are here, and we deserve the same rights and respect as everyone else," Connor told San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.
"As some leaders in this country are doing their best to erase trans folks, strip us of our rights and treat us as second class citizens, it is even more important than ever to be visible. We are standing up for all of our trans siblings who cannot stand up, whose very lives are in jeopardy simply because of who they are, and we need our allies to stand with us."
Longtime newswoman and current journalist for LGBTQ Nation, Dawn Ennis (pictured left) mirrors Connor's views and says putting ones presence front-and-center is not narcissism or inveighing, but valuable in the inspiration of others.
"This isn't a day to hide or sneak around hoping no one notices us, " said Ennis. "We who are trans step up today and say 'Look at me' not to show off or make demands, and ours is not an act of vanity."
"We ask you to see us blemishes and all, as the men, the women, the non binary people we are, and to take us at our word: we are real. Dawn is my real name. Female is my real gender. My genitalia are really none of your business! What matters every day, but today especially, is that you see me as I am, not through the prism of judgment but by the light of equality and acceptance."
One of the things that has generated change throughout history is the constant fortified lines of the oppressed who have stepped forward through fear but with unflappable courage to carry on through an arsenal of hate.
These individuals have done the impossible: changed people’s minds. So as we recognize them today - truly recognize them - we must also remember what they have withstood and make a little room for ourselves to stand beside them.