Transgender Day of Visibility: What it Means to Live Visibly and to Fight for Those Who Cannot

By Kasey Suffredini • March 31, 2019 • 1:52 am

Transgender people should be proud of who we are every single day. Transgender Day of Visibility is a time to put that pride to work, telling our stories and helping our community claim the respect we deserve. I feel fortunate to live as an out transgender man with a supportive family and community. And I know the serious hardships and ongoing discrimination that many transgender Americans face.

Since Transgender Day of Visibility 2018, a lot of us have been busier than usual telling our stories, and in the process leading the entire movement for LGBTQ nondiscrimination to some major victories.

Defending transgender-inclusive protections in Anchorage and Massachusetts and enacting them in New Hampshire and New York—these wins would not have happened without transgender people putting themselves front and center. Telling our stories has made all the differences in this work.

What we learned in 2018 in Anchorage, in Massachusetts, and several other states where we beat back attempts to remove us from public spaces, is that people will fight for us. People who had never canvassed in their lives showed up to talk to strangers to defend trans people and they did it because we are loved, valued, and part of America’s communities.

Over the past year I’ve especially admired the new generation of transgender young people who are proud to show who they are, and who even volunteered to lead these campaigns. This is something many transgender people of my generation couldn’t even dream of happening when we were younger.

Transgender people are courageously coming out and sharing their stories with their neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family members. Support for transgender freedom continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and the power of those interactions reveal that our values as Americans of fairness, compassion, and opportunity for all remain vibrantly held.

I’m thinking of young people like Brandon, Nicole, Ian and Cole—and their families—who rarely missed an opportunity to speak to voters about how it would hurt them if transgender protections were repealed in Massachusetts and Anchorage. And there were people like Linds in New Hampshire and Lillian in Anchorage, who served as the public faces of these campaigns and the community organizing muscle behind the scenes.

I do this work on behalf of those who can’t. And while visibility matters – not everyone can be visible. That’s why this work is so important. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who feels they can’t live authentically, know that those of us that can are fighting and working hard so that one day, everyone can be who they are and live with complete dignity and respect under the law.

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