Read & Resist: Observing Trans Day of Visibility

A person wearing a flag with the transgender symbol
Photo by Drew Angerer via Getty Images

A typical morning at W would often start with a quick round-up of links to that day’s fashion- and culture-related news called “Chic in Review.” But last summer, when a white police officer named Derek Chauvin killed an unarmed Black man named George Floyd, protests erupted across the country, and we revived the daily column as the slightly more radical “Read & Resist.” There’s been a wave of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the #StopAsianHate movement, prompted by a wave of anti-Asian hate crimes. And amid all that, it’s easy for other oppressed communities to get lost in the mix. So, on this year’s Trans Day of Visibility, we’re calling attention to the fact that it’s been an historic year for anti-trans legislation in America, with more than 100 bills that mostly target trans youth. (Arkansas has even banned healthcare for transgender children.)

The situation was already dire; at least 45 trans and gender-nonconforming individuals lost their lives to discrimination last year. (As have at least 12 more in 2021.) Things are even worse for the Black transgender community, which experiences higher rates of violence, poverty, and homelessness. Here are the stories, videos, and tweets we’re hoping you don’t miss amid the crisis.

An Ally's Guide to Terminology: Talking About LGBT People & Equality, by GLAAD

It’s always helpful to revisit GLAAD’s guide to talking about people in the LGBTQ+ community accurately and respectfully, since language evolves over time. (Or to discover it—up to 80 percent of Americans say they’ve never met a transgender person.) “Sex change,” “transgendered,” and “homosexuality,” for example, are terms to avoid. You can read more about everyday ways to support the trans and nonbinary people in your life here.

Visibility Alone Will Not Keep Transgender Youth Safe, by Chase Strangio and Raquel Willis for The Nation

Strangio and Willis explain why they expanded Trans Day of Visibility to Trans Week of Visibility and Action, in an effort to mobilize against “the national wave of anti-trans legislation and rhetoric that attacks and questions our existence.” The situation is particularly dire in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. You don’t have to live in those states to join the fight against barring programs and legislation that have been proven to decrease suicidal ideation by 70 percent, in the name of “protecting” children. See Willis’s suggestions for how to get started below, and find more activists to follow here.

Inside the Great British TERF War, by Hannah Ewens for Vice

The U.S. is hardly alone in attacking the trans community. Ewens dives deep into the situation in the U.K., where many share the disturbingly transphobic views of the author J.K. Rowling.

Celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility by Looking at Me, Specifically, by Harron Walker for the Guardian

The writer and W contributor offers a lighter take on how to observe the holiday.

Amazon's Facial Analysis Program Is Building A Dystopic Future For Trans And Nonbinary People, by Anna Merlan and Dhruv Mehoratra for Jezebel

Misgendering is built into the design of Amazon’s facial recognition analysis technology, Rekognition, and yet is increasingly widely used by police departments, government agencies, tech companies, and researchers.

Elliot Page Is Ready For This Moment, by Katy Steinmetz for Time

The actor’s first major interview since coming out as transgender touches on the fluid nature of gender identity and importance of gender-affirming healthcare.

Trans Visibility Won’t Save Us, by Alex V Green for Buzzfeed Reader

In 2019, the writer and researcher argued that trans people were already “incredibly visible,” and that it’s time to move on to taking action.


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