March 31, 2021, will mark the 12th annual International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV). The event celebrates the resilience and success of transgender and gender nonconforming people and raises awareness of transgender rights.
TDoV was founded by activist Rachel Crandall in 2009. Crandall was inspired by the fact that there was no holiday in existence dedicated to honoring the achievements and contributions of transgender people. At the time, the only major transgender-centered commemoration was the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which mourns the victims of hate crimes and violence, according to Queerhombolt.org, an online resource for the LGBTQ community.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has limited in-person celebrations for TDoV 2021, some organizations and higher education institutions are working within the restrictions to shine a light on transgender rights. The University of California, Riverside, for example, is offering limited seating for an on-campus TDoV event featuring Ryan Cassata, transgender singer-songwriter and LGBTQ activist, as a guest speaker and performer.
Alphonso David, president of the LGBTQ advocacy group The Human Rights Campaign, encouraged others to use TDoV as an opportunity to learn from the pride and resilience of the transgender community. “As we celebrate [TDoV], we must never forget those who still feel invisible even in their own communities and who may live every day with fear of discrimination or violence, and we must resolve to fight for a world where every transgender and non-binary person is respected and protected,” David said in a 2020 statement.●
This article was published in our March 2021 issue.