Transgender Day of Visibility

“[Transgender people] are parents. We are children. We are coworkers. We are friends. We are artists.”

These words, spoken by PFLAG Northeast Regional Director Lindsey Pasquale, reflect the spirit of this year’s upcoming Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual commemoration that seeks to affirm & uplift the voices of transgender and non-binary communities who are far too often ignored, maligned, or even demonized.

Transgender Day of Visibility, which was founded by transgender activist Rachel Crandall Crocker in 2009, is held annually on March 31. The holiday honors the personal declarations of identity made by transgender and nonbinary individuals & looks to affirm their identity, one that many actively attempt to break down while clinging to bigoted beliefs. 

Transgender Day of Visibility, which started at the locally-organized level, has since risen up the ranks of recognition, including in 2021 when President Joe Biden became the first United States president to issue a proclamation in recognition of the day. This continued in 2022, as President Biden issued a proclamation to honor “transgender people who are fighting for freedom, equality, dignity, and respect.”

“To everyone celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility, I want you to know that your President sees you. The First Lady, the Vice President, the Second Gentleman, and my entire Administration see you for who you are – made in the image of God and deserving of dignity, respect, and support,” the proclamation read. “Visibility matters, and so many transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming Americans are thriving…Despite this progress, transgender Americans continue to face discrimination, harassment, and barriers to opportunity.”

These barriers, which are frighteningly real for countless transgender and non-binary people, can impact one’s ability to work, gain a proper education, play on a local sports team or, most impactfully, challenge their ability to live a safe & authentic life. That is where celebrations such as Transgender Day of Visibility and organizations such as PFLAG come in.

PFLAG, which is “the nation’s first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them,” has chapters throughout the northeast, including several right here in Connecticut. Pasquale, who joined PFLAG Hartford in late 2014, serves as the Northeast Regional Director & serves as PFLAG Hartford’s Board Treasurer.

Pasquale’s work, similarly to others who work in LGBTQ+ support, seeks to affirm the identity & right to live a life of normalcy for those who otherwise may be unable to. However, due to political dysfunction and “culture wars” that attempt to dehumanize transgender and non-binary individuals, this seemingly simple goal has become a major topic of disagreement.

“People have a flat out right to exist,” Pasquale said. “We can’t agree or disagree on someone’s right to live.”

This work being facilitated by Pasquale & countless others across the country comes at a pivotal time in our nation’s battle for transgender rights. Anti-trans legislation has been proposed or approved in 44 states, including in Connecticut, and other advocacy groups such as GLAAD have highlighted the need for celebrations such as Transgender Day of Visibility.

“In 2023, over 300 anti-LGBTQ bills have been filed so far, with over half specifically targeting trans people, particularly youth. This hypervisibility typically comes at the expense of trans people who were demonized and scapegoated by politicians and in [the] media,” GLAAD wrote.

This uneven coverage often serves as a dangerous distraction from Transgender Day of Visibility. The celebration’s purpose, that of affirmation, love & respect, is often overshadowed in many mainstream media outlets by the one-sided coverage of transgender individuals & trans rights, which often only reinforces the beliefs of those who attempt to demonize the LGBTQ+ community, transgender or otherwise.

This is where the “Visibility” portion of Transgender Day of Visibility is of utmost importance. Visibility of one’s self or one’s community is a crucial means of combating blatant misinformation, a concept that’s efficacy can be seen throughout all aspects of American civil rights battles.

“That’s why it’s still necessary for trans people to be seen through authentic, diverse, and accurate stories to reflect the actual lived experiences of trans people; both for themselves and for those people who believe they’ve never met a trans person,” GLAAD wrote. “Without trans people and experts weighing in, and without trans representation in newsrooms to help guide coverage, anti-trans discrimination is often misrepresented in the news as a ‘culture clash’ rather than as targeted hate.”

It is through authentic trans voices & representation, something that Transgender Day of Visibility makes more accessible for those without larger platforms, that transgender people of all walks of life can be affirmed and celebrated. This celebration breaks through the noise of our modern culture, pinpointing the very reason why the commemoration started in the first place.

“But that’s not what [Transgender Day of Visibility] is about,” Pasquale said. “Trans people aren’t defined by gender dysphoria; they are defined by gender euphoria.”

For those looking for further resources related to transgender rights & federal resources,GLSEN & the ACLU have partnered to produce a Know Your Rights guide, including but not limited to:

  • ACLU LGBT Project
    • “The Project is a special division of the ACLU that leads the organization’s nationwide advocacy to secure the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
    • For further information, please visit or call (212)549-2673.
    • “GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students.”
    • For further information, please visit or call (212)727-0135.
  • S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
    • “[Schools] are required to have a clear process for filing complaints of discrimination or harassment. Schools must keep your identity confidential and cannot retaliate against you.”
    • For further information on submitting an official complaint, please view GLSEN’s “Claim Your Rights” guide at

This March 31, please take a moment to celebrate the lives & contributions of transgender and nonbinary people, both at the local level and those abroad, affirm their voices and learn how each and every one of us plays a role in the betterment of our marginalized and underrepresented communities.

For those looking to further become involved with PFLAG’s support channels, resource sharing, advocacy opportunities & more, please visit PFLAG’s official website or visit the PFLAG National Facebook page.

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