Transgender Day of Visibility 2021

This year marks the 12th International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV), an annual event to honor and acknowledge the transgender and nonbinary community while also raising awareness about the discrimination this community faces worldwide. TDoV is a time to celebrate the resiliency of transgender and nonbinary people, especially in the face of unprecedented attacks by state legislatures across the country targeting transgender youth.

Visit Equality Federation’s tracker of anti-trans legislation across the country.

Many transgender people, particularly transgender women and transgender people of color, still face enormous barriers to their safety, health, and well-being. This year alone, at least 12 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been murdered, the majority of these people being Black and Latinx transgender women. Additionally, transgender women are 3.8 times more likely to live in poverty than the general population. For the 16% of transgender people who live in rural America, structural challenges of rural life—such as fewer healthcare or employment options—means the impact of discrimination is particularly profound.

To date in 2021 alone, four states have enacted harmful policies targeting transgender youth and their ability to participate in sports through school, with at least 30 states considering such laws. Additionally, at least 20 states are considering legislation that would ban transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming medical care.

These bills would mean that a transgender girl, for example, would not be allowed to participate in sports with her classmates. By telling transgender girls that they can’t play girls’ sports, or transgender boys that they can’t play boys’ sports, they miss out on this important childhood experience and all the lessons it teaches.

Strength and Resiliency of Transgender People & Communities

On TDoV, the stories of transgender youth and their families, in particular, provide reminders of the strength and resiliency of transgender people and the importance of love and acceptance. Through family and community acceptance and support, nurturing strong connections to people who care, and establishing a positive sense of identity as a transgender person, parents and communities can help foster and strengthen resilience in transgender and gender diverse young people.

One such family, the Miles Family, shared their family’s journey toward understanding what it means to be transgender, their hopes and dreams for their transgender son, and why they support updating our laws to protect transgender people from discrimination in this video from MAP:

For most LGBTQ people across the country, finding and building community with other LGBTQ people is an important part of life. This is especially true for transgender people living in more hostile environments, like in the U.S. South, where trans-led grassroots and advocacy organizations provide a refuge from the difficulties and potential discrimination of everyday life. Read about some of these amazing groups from our #QueerSouthernStories series:

With the new Biden administration, there are opportunities to address the rampant violence and discrimination facing the transgender community. And with advocacy by trans-led groups like the National Center for Transgender Equality, Transgender Law Center, and the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, advancing vital policy goals—like nondiscrimination, access to health care, and increased community safety—are more possible than ever for the approximately 1.4 million transgender people in the United States.

For example:

  • Many states have significantly improved the process for transgender and nonbinary people to update their name and gender identity on documents. In 2010, 33 states required proof of “sexual reassignment surgery” or had extremely burdensome processes for updating gender markers on driver’s licenses. But by 2021, only eight states had such requirements, and instead over half of states (29) and D.C. use easy-to-understand forms and require either no medical certification or accept certification from a wide range of providers.
  • Additionally, in 2021, 19 states and D.C. have gender-neutral “X” options available for driver’s licenses, and 13 states have such options for birth certificates.

Learn more from our Equality Maps on Identity Documents.

Take Action

  • Call your senators at (202) 224–3121 and tell them why federal nondiscrimination protections like those in the Equality Act are so important to ensure protections for LGBTQ people on things like employment, housing, medical care and education.
  • Pledge your support for the Trans Agenda for Liberation, a community-led guide that addresses the urgent political, legal, and social violence enacted against transgender communities: bit.ly/3sF7v1E
  • If you identify as Black and transgender, consider taking a national survey by the Black Futures Lab to better understand opinions on issues affecting Black communities: bit.ly/BFLNationalSurvey
  • Learn more about the transgender and nonbinary community on Transgender Day of Visibility: lgbtmap.org/transgender-people

MAP is an independent, nonprofit think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all.