As I sit down to write this it’s two days before the annual observance that is the Transgender Day of Visibility, or as it is more commonly referred to: TDOV. I am angry and anxious all at the same time. Now mind you it’s not like I never felt like that when I’ve written blog posts or op-eds before, but here’s the thing – this year’s TDOV feels very different to me. Probably because it IS very different. And it’s really not all that hard to explain. It has everything to do with a heightened sense of importance that people, that society writ large, fully and completely understands the moment that the transgender community finds itself in.
We are under attack – from all sides.
With each passing day that another piece of utterly vile legislation is put forth in some Republican-led state legislature, the vice that my community is in as the political wedge issue du jour gets that much tighter. And as I recently stated to my dear friend Fabrice Houdart in our Five Questions piece, “Buckle up, my friend. They’re just warming up!” And that’s because they really are. Think about that for a moment. The 2024 presidential election cycle really hasn’t even cranked up yet, and we are already at nearly 400 anti-trans bills in some form of consideration in state legislatures throughout our country.
But understand this, please: the forces of hate, bigotry, and mis-information are shaping and driving a narrative that seeks only one goal: total eradication of transgender people. And this is not hyperbole – I only wish it were – this is the reality of our moment. It cannot be glossed over; it cannot be whitewashed. As if we needed yet another example, while I was in the middle of writing this, the news broke that the Kentucky state legislature overrode the governor’s veto to pass a bill that is widely viewed as among the most extreme anti-transgender bills in the nation, banning transition care for trans youth and limiting the discussion of gender identity in schools.
So, here’s the thing. I am trans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I do not choose to be visible just on March 31st. I am visible EVERY DAY. I am visible because that is how I live my best, fullest life. The life that, quite frankly, I deserve to live – that EVERY transgender person deserves to live. I am visible for all my trans siblings that aren’t – yet. I speak up not to hear my own voice, but to give my voice to those in my community that have no voice. As I have said many times, when I first came out, it is because I gained the courage to do so by standing on the shoulders of those transgender individuals that came before me. The very least that I can do is set my shoulders so that those that are to come after me can use them to reach higher heights and greater achievements for themselves and for our community.
So now comes the time where I ask YOU, dear reader, what are you going to do? Right now, right at this inflection point that the transgender movement finds itself. The time to act is NOW. WE NEED YOU! AND for those of you employed in the corporate sector, WE NEED YOUR COMPANIES TOO!
The transgender community can no longer afford to have you and your workplace stand on the sidelines. Especially if you live and work in states where these beyond-harmful bills are being considered or have unfortunately become law. It’s time to get off the bench and get in the game and get involved. It’s time to get your hands dirty. It is time to make “good trouble” (bless you, John Lewis). And if you are at a loss as to where to begin, there are plenty of “how to be an ally” resources on the Interweb. Now is not the time for excuses, or “I’ll get to it later’s.”
The time for VISIBILITY is NOW! And not just today, but for every single day from here on out.