Six Ways to Take Action and Save Lives this Trans Day of Visibility

I didn’t experience an aha moment or an emotional, key plot point with music crescendoing in the background when I realized I was trans. I suspected that I was different from other people who were assigned female at birth. It wasn’t until a visible trans person led me to a slow, years-long reckoning that I accepted the truth: I’m trans. I was always trans. I will continue to be a proud trans person.

On more than one occasion, I have heard personal anecdotes of trans, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, and gender expansive folks admit that they didn’t know transitioning was even an option until they witnessed representation. Most of the time those representations were harmful, stereotypical depictions of trans people as villains, sexual deviants, or manipulative con artists. 

I didn’t want to be trans. It conflicted with my childhood Christian belief that God does not make mistakes. In my parents’ view, I was sinning by desiring to go against His creation. It didn’t help reading articles debating the “trans issue,” watching Senate hearings, listening to pundits’ arguments, and enduring the derision of religious leaders that I once held as important. For years, I thought I wouldn’t live to see my 30s. 

The examples of trans people living loudly and reclaiming their visibility was enough for me to see that there was a way out of restrictive gender roles. Being trans didn’t make me a mistake or a sinner. When I re-entered the queer and trans community as an out trans man, it opened my eyes to the resiliency of trans people. It was a revolutionary act of self-love to question the gender binary and pursue my transition. I witnessed trans people thriving despite the barriers and hatred. I found gender euphoria first with a more masculine style and chest binder, then a legal name change and top surgery. I’m now 32, and have found happiness and peace the likes of which I never thought was possible. I know now that I have a future.

It may seem as though the existence of trans people was sudden and influenced by social media. But if you read lost historical accounts of real life two-spirit Indigenous leaders or transmasc people who joined the fight for the abolishment of slavery, then you will see that trans people have always been here. The visibility of these past figures and those who are out today is what we need to open minds and hearts. Whenever trans people share their stories, they disrupt dehumanization; they shift the narrative away from Hollywood’s negative portrayals and most conservatives’ despicable convictions. What’s more, trans people don’t have to be the only ones questioning what gender means. 

Today, we’re seeing a record number of hate-fueled anti-trans bills that are making it through the legislative process at unprecedented speed. In Texas, where I live, Equality Texas has identified 140 “bad bills” (as of March 22, 2023) attacking trans adults and youth, drag performers, and parents of trans youth. Across the country, the number has climbed to 429 and is still growing. It may seem hopeless and daunting, but national, state, and local nonprofit organizations are powerfully battling each and every one of these bills. In past legislative sessions, many bad bills died in different parts of the legislative process and didn’t become law. All is not lost.

Trans Day of Visibility is a call for us all to be visible with our support, respect, and open love for trans people, especially young trans people who need to know that they are valued and don’t need to question the sacredness of their existence. No more whispers, direct messages, or pats on the back. We need our village to take an active role; be loud about the existence of trans people and the freedoms they deserve. It’s extremely difficult and oftentimes dangerous to be an out trans, nonbinary, gender non-conforming, or gender expansive person. Call for direct and immediate policy change that could keep us safe. Cisgender allies, especially, can take the following six actions listed by priority to reclaim trans peoples’ humanity:

  1. Contact your state-level representatives and ask them to vote in favor of good bills or against bad bills. 
  2. Keep an eye on the bills making it through the legislative process via organizations like the Trans Formations Project or the ACLU.
  3. Follow organizations that are doing the work such as the ACLU, Human Rights Campaign, and the Trans Formations Project. And donate to them!
  4. Utilize your social media to share information about bills, uplift educational material that helps to debunk disinformation about trans people, and simply show love for trans people.
  5. Make sure you understand the myths and facts about the transgender community.
  6. If you are able, join your local LGBTQ+ organization and volunteer. These organizations often have details on advocacy days, protests, rallies, and marches in your area.