March 31st marks the annual Transgender Day of Visibility, an international holiday that celebrates transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.
The day is dedicated to acknowledging all that has been accomplished to promote trans equality and justice in the face of adversity.
It is also a time to raise awareness around the discrimination that unfortunately still exists.
Visibility Makes a Difference
While progress has been made, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals continue to face severe discrimination and systemic inequality, especially in North Dakota. This can be and has been attributed to a lack of understanding. Many people don’t know the journey of transgender youth and adults and the barriers that society presents. In fact, a public opinion survey found that only 30% of participants knew someone who is transgender, a statistic that continues to be part of ongoing conversations around why visibility is so important.
Knowing someone who identifies as transgender is associated with elevated support for transgender people and their rights. A growing research base suggests that information sharing, such as having a simple conversation, can reduce transphobia. And a study conducted by the Williams Institute in 2018 found that viewing images of transgender and gender non-conforming people can increase support for trans equality, again underscoring the significance of representation.
Why does this matter? In short, being visible (and vocal) is a catalyst for change. And we need change!
Visibility is a powerful tool in shattering stigma and altering perceptions. When transgender youth and adults share their stories, it demystifies the “unknown.” Increased awareness fosters affirmation, acceptance, and inclusion. This is why we need statewide policies and laws that allow and encourage transgender people to feel physically and emotionally safe to live their lives openly and authentically.
The Landscape of Trans Rights in North Dakota
Recently, North Dakota has taken steps in the wrong direction with the bills like House Bill 1298 in 2021. Thankfully, Gov. Burgum vetoed this before it could be codified.
Yet we know legislation like this, regardless if it passes or not, demonstrates the need for greater visibility and fierce action. Education on the science, or lack thereof, is important in promoting affirmation and acceptance of youth. Debunking the myths is crucial.
Every North Dakotan should be able to live and thrive in this great state regardless of who they are. If you agree, join our efforts below.
Show Your Support!
Here are a few ways to celebrate Trans Day of Visibility with ACTION:
- Pledge to defend trans rights
- Support local organizations like the Community Uplift Program that work with trans youth and their families everyday providing resources, education, and more.
- Educate yourself on who your lawmakers are and keep a record of how they voted on legislation like House Bill 1298.
- Vote! Commit to casting a ballot in every election.