Celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility and Moving Forward NationwideBy Megan Clayton • March 31, 2016 • 12:49 pm
Since 2009, March 31 has been celebrated as International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day to raise awareness about transgender lives, recognize the unique and wide-ranging contributions of transgender people around the globe, and empower the community to fight forward and share their beautiful, diverse, and often difficult experiences with their communities. Today and every day, Freedom for All Americans is working hard to advance freedoms for transgender people across the country.
We fought the passage of HB 2 in North Carolina last week, and are supporting the ongoing public outcry against the new law. One of HB 2’s most restrictive measures is a ‘Gender Inspection’ clause barring transgender people from using public bathrooms that match the gender they live as every day. It also voids Charlotte’s and other municipalities’ local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances.
We are also supporting local activists and transgender people in the fight against Tennessee’s HB 2414, a similar “Gender Check Bill” that would have required that students prove that their anatomy matches that of their birth certificate as a condition of using the restroom.
And as leading partners in the Freedom Massachusetts campaign, we’re working with activists in Massachusetts to pass SB 735/HB 1577, which would update Massachusetts’ non-discrimination laws to fully protect transgender Bay Staters in public places, including businesses, restaurants, hotels, and on public transportation.
Freedom for All Americans is proud to elevate and amplify the personal stories of transgender Americans, a critical tactic for changing hearts and minds. For instance, a turning point in the successful fight to defeat South Dakota’s HB 1008 came when Governor Dennis Daugaard met with transgender children who would have been harmed by the legislation, which required students to prove their sex by submitting a birth certificate, blood or DNA samples. Gov. Daugaard said he had never met a transgender person before speaking with students. Once he had that chance, he began to understand the discrimination transgender people face every day, and did the right thing by vetoing the bill. Many other Americans are in similar situations; seeing and reading about the lives of transgender people can help them do the right thing as well.
Freedom for All Americans’ Chief Program Officer Kasey Suffredini, who is a transgender man, said today:
Transgender people are not explicitly protected by non-discrimination laws in 33 states, and we face discrimination each and every day – at work, while searching for a place to live, out in public at restaurants and stores, and yes, while trying to use the restroom. It should not be revolutionary to state that all human beings should be fully protected from discrimination – but apparently, it’s a message that extreme lawmakers across the country need to hear. The first step toward raising the volume on that message is by using your own voice to speak up.
Stand with us in celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility by sharing this graphic on Facebook.