For 14 years, March 31 has marked the annual Transgender Day of Visibility, a day for highlighting and honoring transgender and gender-nonconforming people.
2023 signifies a particularly important year to raise awareness about issues facing these communities, advocates say: The year already set a record for the number of anti-trans bills proposed and passed in legislatures across the nation, according to Trans Legislation Tracker.
The Human Rights Campaign reported that the last few years also broke records for transgender people killed in acts of anti-trans violence.
Communities honor lives lost each year in the fall on Transgender Day of Remembrance, but the springtime event was created as a celebration. Rachel Crandall, head of Transgender Michigan, founded International Transgender Day of Visibility in 2009.
In recent years, growing numbers of New Jersey municipalities have developed local events to uplift transgender community members.
The events listed below are designed for people to gather and celebrate transgender and gender-nonconforming people. All events listed are free and open to the public. Organizers say they encourage cisgender allies to come, learn and support, so long as safe spaces are respected.
Where: Project REAL, 805 Fourth Ave.
When: Friday, March 31, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Project REAL, a community space for LGBTQ+ young people, will showcase art by and for transgender and gender-nonconforming people to mark Transgender Day of Visibility.
The art show includes poets, drag performances, painters, musicians and more.
Learn more about this event on Project REAL's Facebook page.
Where: EDGE New Jersey, 295 E. Main St.
When: Tuesday, March 28, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
EDGE, an organization that provides various services and offers community events for LGBTQ+ people in North Jersey, will host its second annual Transgender Day of Visibility celebration. Attendees can select several different classes or activities at EDGE’s space that day, including yoga and a beginner makeup class.
Educational sessions on legal name change processes and gender-affirming care are scheduled alongside hairstyling and wig care tutorials. These sessions are intended to “help people find their inner and outer beauty,” EDGE Chief Operating Officer Joann McEniry said.
Though the event is free, people must register in advance at edgenj.org/trans-beauty-and-wellness.
Trans Pride Flag Raising
Where: City Hall Balcony, 280 Grove St.
When: Friday, March 31, 11:30 a.m.
For the third year, the transgender pride flag will fly above City Hall in Jersey City. Mayor Steven Fulop and the Mayor’s LGBTQ Task Force will raise the pale pink, blue and white colors in the morning to honor Transgender Day of Visibility. You can watch last year’s flag raising on YouTube.
Venus Pellagatti Xtravaganza Dedication
Where: Eighth Street, between Monmouth and Brunswick streets
When: Friday, March 31, 1:30 p.m.
Garden State Equality joined with Hudson Pride Center to honor not only Transgender Day of Visibility and local transgender people broadly, but also Jersey City native Venus Pellagatti Xtravaganza.
Readers may recognize Xtravaganza from her prominent role in the documentary "Paris is Burning," which followed performers in New York City’s underground ballroom scene of the late 1980s. Xtravaganza, a transgender woman, was killed at 23. Members of her biological and ballroom families will attend, along with Dominique Jackson, star of the FX series "Pose," which portrayed ballroom culture in the same era as "Paris is Burning."
The local organizations and guests will dedicate Xtravaganza’s childhood home, making it a community landmark.
Find out more at gardenstateequality.org/events.
Where: Union Congregational Church, 176 Cooper Ave.
When: Saturday, April 1, 1 to 6 p.m.
The nonprofit Out Montclair has put together its first-ever Transgender Day of Visibility event. The day will include music from DJ Jersey, a comedy show featuring Jaye McBride, hair and makeup artists, and food trucks. Conversations and education will be provided through workshops and panel discussions among local transgender leaders, including Celeste Fiore.
Fiore, a lawyer who founded New Jersey’s Trans Affirming Alliance and sits on Out Montclair’s board, will discuss navigating the court system and explain legal rights applicable to trans people. Although the talk will affect mainly transgender audience members, Fiore wants all adults to come learn about the community.
“We are everywhere. We’ve always been here, and we’re going to continue to be here,” Fiore said. “Showing up to an event like this feels like an easy first step. You don’t have to say a word.”
Read more about this event at outmontclair.org/events.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: New Jersey cities, towns to celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility