Ramona Peel, Lead Trainer
Equitas Health Institute for Health Equity
This Saturday is Transgender Day of Visibility. Since 2009, TDOV has been a day to celebrate trans folks and their experiences, as well as to shed light on the prejudice and discrimination this community endures on a daily basis. Here’s a few things you might not know about the trans community and this day of visibility.
Don’t Leave Out Trans-Identified Non-Binary Folks
This day isn’t just for binary trans people. It’s also for non-binary folks (agender, genderfluid, genderqueer, and more) who identify as transgender. Some non-binary people do not personally identify as trans, but for those who do TDOV can be an important moment of celebration and commemoration. It’s simply wrong to cut non-binary people out of the story of our community, or out of the narrative of the trans rights movement.
The Trans Community is Bigger Than You Might Think
According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, there are approximately 40,000 trans folks in the state of Ohio. Population-wise, that’s about the size of municipalities like Findlay, Grove City, Delaware, Lancaster, or Westerville. From another angle, that’s enough people to fill up Nationwide Arena and MAPFRE Stadium. It’s also important to understand that the data from the Williams Institute isn’t necessarily capturing the entire population of transgender people in the United States. There are a lot of reasons that a trans person might NOT want to be visible, which leads us to…
Visibility is Optional, For Very Good Reasons
Many trans folks (including your author) are very out and visible. If someone feels like coming out as trans, TDOV is a great day to do it. However, no trans person is obligated to be out and visible. For a lot of people, making it public knowledge that they are trans might put their job, their housing, or even their personal safety at risk. Even if someone chooses to stay in the closet, even if someone decides to transition and then go “stealth,” their identities are every bit as valid as those who choose to shout about who they are at full volume (like your author).
Don’t Out Trans People
No matter how excited you might be about TDOV, as an ally or as a trans person, remember that it’s never OK to out a trans person without their explicit consent. You might be putting that person in danger a number of ways, but even more than that you would be denying that person the autonomy and agency that everyone deserves. Every trans person has the right to determine the time, manner and place of their own coming out. Don’t do this. Ever.
Ramona Peel is the Lead Trainer for The Equitas Health Institute for LGBTQ Health Equity. If you have any questions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.