Each year on March 31, the world observes Transgender Day of Visibility to raise awareness about transgender people. It is a day to celebrate the lives and contributions of trans people, while still spotlighting the poverty, discrimination, and violence the community faces.
Today is the 7th Annual International Transgender Day of Visibility which was created by trans advocate Rachel Crandall. The head of Transgender Michigan, Crandall created this day after recognizing that many media outlets only report on stories about the violence committed against transgender and gender non-conforming people. She hoped to create a day where people could focus on celebrating the lives of transgender people, empowering them to be themselves and be seen, while still acknowledging that due to discrimination, not every trans person can or wants to be visible.
This year, GLAAD partnered with Instagram and genderqueer writer-producer Jacob Tobia for a video and photo series for Transgender Day of Visibility to highlight a few change-making advocates, including Gigi Gorgeous, Angelica Ross, Trace Lysette, Alexandra Grey, Schuyler Bailar, Rocco Kayiatos, Elliot Fletcher, and Zoey Luna to share the immense impact visibility can have, and their messages of affirmation and suport to the community.
This project recognizes how visibility accelerates acceptance, and continues expanding and ensuring representation--in all media forms--reflects the diversity of the community and the reality of the world we all live. In addition to bringing together trans advocates for the film, a creative team of trans professionals was assembled for the shoot, including photographer Amos Mac and stylist Cetine Dale.
The producer of the project, Tobia said:
"For me, this project was a love letter to the trans community. Trans people put a lot on the line by becoming visible leaders. Unfortunately, being trans and visible in America today means dealing with a lot of haters and a lot of probing questions about your identity and your past. On a day that's all about celebrating visibility, I wanted to be sure that the trans folks on the frontlines of visibility in the media were surrounded by love and positivity. Focusing on #KindComments, and hand-selecting beautiful comments from their fans was an easy way to do that. Also, I love Jimmy Kimmel's "Mean Tweets" segments, and I wanted to make my own transfabulous version!"
The GLAAD and Instagram video will be officially screened at the Rising Stars Luncheon held at the Beverly Hilton, where GLAAD will announce and recognize the inaugural cohort of Rising Stars Grant Recipients. The GLAAD Rising Stars program, presented by Delta Airlines, Coca Cola Company, and Barilla Group, empowers and invests in the next generation of LGBTQ change makers, whose advocacy is changing their local communities and the culture at large.
On Transgender Day of Visibility and every day, join GLAAD and Instagram in celebrating transgender people by sharing #KindComments – empowering comments that uplift you and others in the trans community. See something? Say something...kind! Spread the ❤ on Instagram with #KindComments. #TDOV
GLAAD also worked with Snapchat on a global Our Story for Transgender Day of Visibility, in which Snapchat users can contribute personal moments and messages on the platform and show support for the trans community in a curated compilation of many peoples' stories able to be viewed around the world.
Visibility is especially important for the transgender community. According to a recent PEW poll, nearly 90% of Americans say they personally know someone who is lesbian, gay, or bisexual. However, according to a recent Harris poll, only 16% of Americans say they personally know someone who is transgender. That means that 84% of the people in the U.S. learn everything they know about transgender people from the media, which for the past few decades, has underrepresented and dangerously misrepresented trans people and their experiences. That's why it's imperative that trans people not only be able to see themselves accurately reflected in media but also be seen authentically by non-transgender people.
Outspoken advocates and celebrities like Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Jazz Jennings, Tiq Milan, Caitlyn Jenner, and many more are bringing the stories and experiences of transgender people to people and places across the world. However, visibility on its own is not enough and can also put people in less safe and more vulnerable situations. The ongoing discrimination and brutal violence perpetrated against transgender people around the world demand focused advocacy and organizing from LGBTQ people and allies.
GLAAD is committed to supporting the advocacy of transgender people and standing at the forefront of shaping the cultural narrative about trans people and the issues the community faces, ensuring that the media treats transgender people and their stories with dignity and respect. Learn more about GLAAD's Transgender Media Program at glaad.org/transgender.
Follow and participate in the International Transgender Day of Visibility on social media using hashtag #TDOV.