What is Trans Day of Visibility?
Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) was founded in 2009 by activist Rachel Crandall because the only widely observed day of recognition for transgender folks was Trans Day of Rememberance, which is recognized on November 20th and focuses on remembering those who have died from anti-trans violence. Rachel Crandall wanted to celebrate the courage and vitality of people while are alive and uplift their accomplishments and experiences.
When it comes to gender issues, we need more than just visibility.
We need networks of support.
We need justice.
We need liberation.
Visibility is the bare minimum.
On March 31st, 2021, the McQuade Library partnered with the Gender and Sexuality Alliance and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative to host a Trans Day of Visibility event. They held a panel that hosted faculty and students as they discussed transgender and nonbinary experiences in media and why representation matters in this context. Featured panelists included students Rowan Salhi and Jackson Fortune-O'Brien and Communication and Media/Women's and Gender Studies faculty Dr. Raechel Tiffe.
For many people, what they see in media may be their introduction to what it means to be transgender or nonbinary. For some, it is their first opportunity to see part of themselves acted out on screen, a chance to explore gender. It impacts a person's understanding, empathy, and ability to think critically about social justice issues, like anti-trans violence or policy. We are so grateful for our panelists who shared their knowledge with our community.
During our event, we discussed anti-trans legislation and how athletics are being heavily target right now. Here are a few spots to find more information:
Are you trans or nonbinary and looking for support?
Campus resources like The Counseling Center, The Gender and Sexuality Alliance, Gender Equality at Merrimack, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative, folks at the McQuade Library, and your trusted friends and faculty or staff supports may also have resources to share.
Trans Lifeline (877) 565-8860 Hotline open 24/7
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender National Hotline (888) 843-4564
GLBT National Youth Talkline (Ages 25 and under) (800) 246-PRIDE
Trevor Project Hotline: (866) 488-7386 Hotline open 24/7
The Network/La Red (617) 742-4911 Hotline open 24/7
Do you work in communications or media?
Check out these resources for how to cover trans issues and ensure trans and nonbinary creators are included in your work. Remember, language evolves over time and can have cultural, generational, and regional influences. Use these as a starting point, and also use the language of the community you are covering.
A great way to find media about a topic you care about is to ask friends, librarians, and community members. You can also search for popular and scholarly articles about trans and nonbinary media. Some places to start:
The works listed below came up in our panel discussion. Some of these are examples of how to do it right, and some came with critique. Watch our panel above to hear what people thought about each piece listed, or watch with a critical eye and open mind.