International Transgender Day of Visibility

Mar 29, 2023

March 31st is the International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day to celebrate and honor transgender people and increase visibility and awareness of the transgender community's struggles and triumphs.

Transgender people have historically been marginalized and excluded from mainstream society, often facing discrimination, harassment, and violence. Transphobia and discrimination are still widespread, and many transgender individuals face significant barriers to accessing healthcare, employment, housing, and other necessities.

In Nova Scotia, gender identity and gender expression are protected characteristics under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act. This informs and encourages the inclusion of transgender rights in regulations, policies and procedures which act as safeguards against individual biases and prejudices.

Despite such protections enshrined in law, polarizing political forces continue to target the rights of transgender people, threatening the safety of youth and adults, clawing back hard-won recognition, and silencing the voices of individuals whose identities become the subject of a manufactured moral debate.

Recognizing the International Transgender Day of Visibility is critical in combating this discrimination and raising awareness of the challenges faced by transgender people. It is an opportunity for allies to show their support, take up the fight for equality themselves, and to amplify the voices of the transgender community. We must create spaces for transgender individuals to share their stories and experiences, to be seen, heard, and respected.

Visibility is essential because it helps to reduce the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding transgender persons. It also helps to highlight the diversity within the transgender community, showcasing that there is no one "right" way to be transgender and that no two transition journeys will look the same. It is a reminder that transgender people are not a monolithic group but rather a diverse community of individuals with different experiences, identities, and needs.

 Each transgender person should be recognized for who they are - human beings deserving of respect, dignity, and equality.  When we build a society that accepts, celebrates, and uplifts transgender people, we create spaces where all can feel understood and respected. These acts of acceptance can advance and enshrine the rights of transgender people in the fabric of our society. This is a responsibility we all share.   Transgender people have made significant contributions in many fields, including art, science, sport, public service, activism, and more. Recognizing these contributions helps increase visibility and promote equity for transgender people.

Honouring the International Transgender Day of Visibility is critical in the fight for transgender rights and equality. By recognizing and supporting the transgender community, we can create a world that is more just, equitable, and accepting for all.

The preceding is a statement from Joseph Fraser, Director & CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.