International Transgender Day of Visibility, 2017
Written By: Gina Duncan, Director of Transgender Equality
TransAction Florida, Equality Florida's Transgender Equality Council, Expands To Meet Growing Needs of the Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Community
The International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual holiday dedicated to celebrating the transgender community and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide. With each passing year, the collision of the emerging transgender community and societal acceptance becomes more contentious and reminds us that being visible is now more important than ever.
The national political climate remains alarmingly hostile to the transgender community. The current administration recently rescinded transgender school district guidance put in place by the Obama Administration. It is important to note that the Trump administration’s actions, while deplorable, in no way diminishes a school district’s absolute legal obligation to protect transgender students from discrimination including allowing them to access the bathroom that aligns with their affirmed gender. Under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, public schools can and should face consequences if they allow mistreatment of LGBTQ students. However, what the President has done is certain to create new confusion and has put an even bigger target on the backs of children who already face tremendous levels of bullying and harassment.
In addition, nine states have already introduced anti-transgender bathroom bills designed to discriminate against the transgender community under the false rhetoric of public safety concerns. Violence against the transgender community is also on the rise with nine transgender Americans already being reported murdered in 2017, mostly transgender women of color.
But, in spite of these challenges, it is more important than ever that we continue to be visible, outspoken advocates for change and social justice. TransAction Florida has grown to 30 visible advocates from all corners of our state. We also formed a wider network of advocates across Florida called TransForm Florida, where we will now expand our education, public policy and advocacy efforts. Our statewide Transgender Resource Guide continues to grow as each quarter we add more quality trans resources. Our corporate education programs continue to grow to a national level, and have expanded to other areas of society. We are now providing transgender cultural competency training to law enforcement, the health care community, the media, the faith based community and in our schools.
On this International Transgender Day of Visibility, let us remain brave and vigilant that we will not accept reverses in the progress we have made to be able to live our truth. Let us continue to stand firm, together with locked arms, against the assault on our community. Despite the many challenges we are facing today, progress is being made, hearts and minds are changing, and with each new generation, acceptance of diversity is growing.
Our Visibility today will lead to Awareness, which will foster Education, and in the end, will lead to transgender Equality.