The Cultural Connection: Celebrating Trans Day of Visibility
The Transgender Day of Visibility, established in 2009, is an annual event on March 31 to acknowledge and honor the transgender (also known as trans) and non-binary community. Trans and non-binary individuals face ongoing discrimination, and this day honors their struggle for acceptance and equal rights. About 2% of U.S. high school students (more than 1.3 million individuals) identify as trans .1
- Non-binary: A ranging term for people who are not solely feminine or masculine.
- Transgender: A ranging term for people whose sex at birth does not match their gender identity.
- Gender identity: The inner, deep understanding of gender. Sometimes expression may or may not align with gender identity depending on a person’s journey, community, and feelings of safety.
- Gender expression: The outward, “public” expression of gender.
Though many people have grown up believing there are only XX and XY chromosomes, and that a person must be either male or female, science shows us something different. There are three main ways we can understand the reality of someone being trans: “genetics, neurobiology, and endocrinology.”2
Some parents may experience stress at the thought of their children coming out as trans; they may not know how to respond, or wonder if it is “just a phase.” A considerable body of research shows some vital statistics on trans youth and how a parent’s or adult’s response can affect their experience:
- 75% of LGBTQIA+ youth (the T stands for trans) reported that they had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity at least once in their lifetime.3
- Only 1 in 3 LGBTQIA+ youth said their homes were affirming spaces.4
- LGBTQIA+ youth said they could find joy in having affirming parents, feeling seen, having affirming faith and spiritual connections, seeing rainbow flags and stickers in public, and going to an affirming school, among others.5
- Trans youth with supportive families are 46% less likely to attempt suicide.6
Even if you don’t think you know a trans person, it is essential that you understand how important your awareness and support of trans existence is—without a doubt, being seen and affirmed matters and may mean the difference between life and death for a young person.
The city of Philadelphia put together a list of 10 things you can do to celebrate the Trans Day of Visibility and make the world a better place for trans people and youth—now and in the future.
- Learn about trans history.
- Support trans-led organizations.
- Don’t out your trans friends.
- Know the differences between gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth, sexuality, and emotional attraction.
- Recognize the intersections of transness and other identities.
- Make women’s spaces inclusive of trans women.
- Learn trans terminology.
- Tell people when they say something transphobic or cissexist.
- Celebrate—and fight for—trans lives.
To learn more about Transgender Day of Visibility and find more resources, visit GLESN’s Transgender Day of Visibility page here.
1 Movement Advancement Project, “Get the Facts about Trans Youth.”
2 Simón(e) D Sun, “Stop Using Phony Science to Justify Transphobia,” Scientific American.
3 The Trevor Project, National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2021.
6 Movement Advancement Project, “Get the Facts about Trans Youth.”
About the Author
Jana Morgan Herman, MEd is a Montessori teacher of 30 years. She is the director at Vietnam Montessori Training and Advisory Center (VMAT) in Hanoi, Vietnam. She is a former head of school and currently teaches university literature courses. She moderates a Facebook group for Montessori parents with almost 10,000 members. She is a member of the LGBTQIA+ family.