International Transgender Day Of Visibility: Activists Discuss The Importance Of Pronouns

International Transgender Day of Visibility is a day many are using to raise awareness about the transgender community. CBS2’s Cory James spoke with local activists who say it starts with getting your pronouns right.

Video Transcript

- Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility, and the Pentagon is marking it with a sweeping reversal of Trump-era policies for transgender members of the military. The former rules largely banned transgender people from serving. The new regulations will allow transgender people who meet military standards to enlist and serve openly in their self-identified genders. They will also be able to get medically necessary transition-related care as authorized by law.

- And many are using this day of visibility as a way to raise awareness about the transgender community.

- CBS 2's Cory James spoke with local activists who say it starts with getting your pronouns right.

KIARA ST. JAMES: My name is Kiara St. James, and my pronouns are she/her and goddess.

SHAWN COLEMAN: Hi, I'm [? Shawn ?] Coleman. He/him/his are my pronouns.

KIM WATSON BENJAMIN: My name is Kim Watson Benjamin. My pronouns are she/her and goddess.

CORY JAMES: Language matters. That's the message many are sharing on this 12th year of International Transgender Day of Visibility, recognizing the men and women living authentically as how they see themselves.

- Happy Trans Day of Visibility.

CORY JAMES: Throughout the day, virtual events took place on multiple platforms to support trans, non-binary, and gender-conforming people across the world.

KIM WATSON BENJAMIN: Trans visibility is me.

CORY JAMES: People like Kim Watson Benjamin, who says visibility is important. She tells us addressing someone by their pronouns is not only a way to stand in solidarity with the transgender community, but it is also a sign of respect.

KIM WATSON BENJAMIN: If you don't do it, you are adding more trauma. It's not OK to mispronoun anyone at all, period.

CORY JAMES: According to the Human Rights Commission, trans people experience violence at rates higher than the average person, and at least 27 trans and gender-nonconforming people were violently killed last year, the same number reported in 2019. Natalie Egan, CEO and founder of Translator, Inc., builds diversity software for corporations, schools, and nonprofits. One way she does that is by adding she/her pronouns to her email signature.

NATALIE EGAN: People say it's hard for them. If you think that's hard, like, try this. Try and be, like, you know, your authentic self, you know, especially in this capacity. Like this is hard. This is hard. Getting my pronouns right, not that hard.

CORY JAMES: And it can be easy if people create the heart space to learn. In Hell's Kitchen, Cory James, he/him/his, CBS 2 News.

- And for a list of transgender resources, you can visit CBSNewYork.com.