Visibility isn’t necessarily what trans folk are asking for


Hello interwebs,

It shouldn’t be surprising, being the imperfect person that I am, that I had no idea Transgender Day of Visibility was even thing. It was apparently celebrated on March 31st as a response to the fact that the only other established “trans day” thing was the Trans Day of Remembrance, in which it was observed that the rate at which trans folk are murdered is alarmingly high–especially if they were black and/or sex workers.

I still have no idea how to feel about TDOV. On the one hand, it’s totally rad to spend the day signal boosting your favourite artists, creators, authors, etc. who happen to be trans. On the other, increased visibility does not always translate into securing rights or changing societal attitudes. After all, of the murders committed in the USA that were classified as hate crimes against Gender & Sexual Diverse victims in 2013, 72% of the victims were trans (67% black trans women). As far as I know, that trend has not broken. The numbers are low, if anything, if for no other reason than some trans victims being reported by ignorant media as cross dressing cis folk and therefore being missed in the count for trans stats.

So, I mean, yeah–it’d be nice if I could get some signal boosting when I get my novel published. But I’m honestly a bit more concerned about fundamental things like, you know, not being arrested for going to the washroom. I’m by no means opposed to a day of visibility, but it seems a bit silly, much in the same way that cis gays in America were jumping for joy that they could marry while murder trials are still unironically invoking “trans panic” to get the defendant off hate crime & first degree murder charges.

Let’s celebrate the progress that’s been made, but let’s also do so in a way that acknowledges how much more work still has to be done.

Stay safe & stay sexy lovelies.



  1. says

    If visibility were the same as outing, I would absolutely be against it. But visibility is a choice of individuals, confrontation via peaceful protest by simply existing. It’s like the gay rights movement’s “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” attitude and the civil rights movement of the 1960s – being visible may be the only way to get general society to recognize trans people as normal, that the threat come from those who attack and oppress the minority group.

    Many used to believe the “gay pedophile” myth, and now most don’t (other than rightwing fanatics) because of time and lack of criminality. It will take time and visibility of transgender people to dispel the myth of “bathroom predators”. Yes, there are no recorded instances of transpeople sexually assaulting people in bathrooms, but the tide of public attitude hasn’t turned yet.

  2. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    The main value I see for trans visibility (for those are in a position where they can be / want to be visible) is how it will affect the coming generations. Visibility means that the discussions are out in the open and children can grow up seeing all sides of the argument (even granting that the views of their authority figures will have extra weight). It is a slow painful process but the general trend of humanity seems to be progressing towards being more inclusive. There are still many counter-examples but their views are constantly being challenged.

    Side-note: this is my main fear about trans-humanism. We need to be replaced for humanity to progress. Just imagine if people from the dark ages were still kicking around. Doubly dangerous because it would skew heavily towards people with power and money being able to extend their lives.

  3. Siobhan says

    #3, Golgafrinchan Captain:

    The main value I see for trans visibility (for those are in a position where they can be / want to be visible) is how it will affect the coming generations.

    I mean, this is why a lot of trans people choose to go stealth: my reward for putting myself out there is “the coming generations will have an easier time of being gender variant.” That is wonderful. My cost for putting myself out there is becoming a sometimes-literal punching bag.

    That’s why the concept is bittersweet to me. I’m stubborn, so I’m not going stealth, even though I have the option. But I’m still pissed that it means having to conduct myself as though assault in broad daylight were an acceptable risk for choosing this. What makes a kid’s life easier is small consolation for the wounds I have and will most likely continue to endure.

  4. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    @Siobhan #4,

    That’s why I would never expect (or even encourage) someone to put themselves out there. Life is difficult enough without the extra shit involved with being “different”, especially when it’s in a way that brings out violent (literally) disagreement from others. All I can do is be supportive of people’s choices (as long as they’re not hurting others) and use my privileges to help when I can (and when it is actually wanted).

    Heck, I’m even mostly stealthy in my atheism and I don’t have anywhere near the same risks that trans people do.

  5. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    Edit re my #5,

    Life is difficult enough without the extra shit involved with being “different”, especially when it’s in a way that brings out violent (literally) disagreement from others

    I tried a bunch of wordings to put the onus on those who are getting violent instead of the people who are different (e.g. deleted “makes people violent” and other similar wordings).

    Please consider my comment as reading: “especially when it’s in a way that assholes get violent about.”

  6. Siobhan says

    #9 Great American Satan

    I doubt I would have ever thought of the problems with the occasion, even as it affects some close to me. That isn’t great.

    Yet here you are, learning and signal boosting. 🙂

    I liked that post a lot. I’ve used “read” in the past, as in, “read as trans,” but I like the way that person used the word “clocked.”

    I’ve had the good fortune in that I haven’t been clocked in quite some time, probably two years or so. But yeah, I remember being consumed by that fear. In certain ways I still am.

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