'A day of celebration': Transgender Day of Visibility recognizes, empowers trans people

For more than a decade, many across the world have celebrated transgender people and their contributions on the International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Every March 31, transgender people and their allies pause to celebrate and reflect on how far the trans community has come.

The day is “to provide a platform, to honor space and to celebrate the visibility of trans people,” said Marissa Miller, a founder of Trans Solutions Research and Resource Center in Indianapolis.

Transgender pride flag
Transgender pride flag

What does transgender mean?

GLAAD defines transgender as "an adjective to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth."

Transgender people may also use other terms to describe their gender identity.

What identities fall under the trans umbrella?

Nonbinary is an adjective for people whose gender identity or expression does not align or are outside of the gender categories of man and woman.

A gender-nonconforming person has a gender identity or expression that "does not conform to the gender they were assigned at birth," according to Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

A once-derogatory term, queer is used by people whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual, according to GLAAD.

What is Trans Day of Visibility?

The first Transgender Day of Visibility was held in 2010 after Rachel Crandall, a trans advocate, launched the day to focus on empowerment.

More: The history behind International Transgender Day of Visibility

“I’d been wanting there to be a special day for us for a long time,” Crandall told USA TODAY. “And I was waiting and waiting for someone else to do it. And then finally I said, ‘I’m not waiting anymore. I’m going to do it.’”

Are there other days recognizing the trans community?

Other prominent awareness days for the community include National Transgender HIV Testing Day on April 18 and International Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 21.

“For decades, trans people were killed … for being trans and now we are celebrated for being visible,” Miller said.

In November, Transgender Awareness Week is also held leading up to Remembrance Day, which honors the lives of transgender people killed by anti-trans violence.

In 2020, the Human Rights Campaign recorded the highest number of fatalities in a single year for the transgender community, and the violence disproportionately impacted Black transgender women.

Why is the Trans Day of Visibility important?

On Visibility Day, the community works to ensure trans people feel seen and that their voices are uplifted, Miller said.

Miller's organization, Trans Solutions, provides services to local transgender and gender non-conforming people. Miller said the center is hosting a series of events to celebrate this year’s Day of Visibility, including a drag show.

“It’s just a day of celebration,” Miller said.

Contact IndyStar's general assignment reporter Rachel Fradette at rfradette@gannett.com or follow her on Twitter: @Rachel_Fradette.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Transgender Day of Visibility recognizes, empowers trans people