Personal awareness and representation can make a difference in society's awareness of the needs of specific minority groups. Learning about the struggles and triumphs of others people can allow society to better understand their experiences and how to be an ally. International Transgender Day of Visibility brings awareness to mental health concerns in the trans community and ways allies can support their trans friends.
What Is Transgender Day Of Visibility (TDOV)?
According to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, TDOV on March 31st is a day of awareness dedicated to "celebrating the accomplishments of transgender and gender non-conforming people while raising awareness of the work that still needs to be done to achieve trans justice. "
Transgender is a term that encompasses gender identities and expressions differing from the cultural expectations based on someone's assigned gender at birth (AGAB). It is often used to describe people who identify as non-binary, genderqueer, or genderfluid, as well as other gender identities.
International Transgender Day of Visibility is a day to celebrate the lives and accomplishments of trans people—currently and throughout history—while highlighting the issues the community still faces. The white house and the US government recognize this day as an official holiday in the US, with a proclamation released on March 30th, 2023.
How To Support The Trans Community For TDOV
Whether you are part of the transgender and gender-nonconforming community or an ally, there are numerous ways to show your support for International Transgender Day of Visibility, including the following:
- Learn about and honor the history of Transgender Day of Visibility
- Attend a TDOV event
- Amplify the voices of transgender people and their work
- Expand your reading list to include trans voices
- Read and impart opinions and quotes from noted transgender figures
- Learn about the trans rights movement
- Explore issues affecting the transgender community
- Write to your local senator and government officials to ask them not to support anti-trans bills in your state
- Protest against anti-trans bills in your state
What Is The Importance Of Transgender Day Of Visibility?
"It's amazing how recognition of transgender identities can affect a larger group of people on such a personal level. Visibility also changes the attitudes of society. It can help to destigmatize transgender identities and open people's minds. However, what the transgender community needs in this moment is more than visibility; what we need are rights, defense, justice, and acceptance. We have our visibility; now we need action." —Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network
TDOV was created in 2009 by transgender advocate Rachel Crandall to refocus the narrative toward celebrating the lives of trans people to empower them while acknowledging the discrimination and challenges they still face.
Many people don't know someone who is transgender, which increases the importance of TDOV. Many people learn about the trans community from the media. However, media depictions of transgender individuals often misrepresent, mischaracterize, or stereotype trans people, often leading to gross misconceptions about what life is like for them and the types of behaviors trans people might exhibit. TDOV offers a crucial opportunity to impart accurate, helpful information that can raise awareness about transgender people and how to support them as allies.
Supporting Trans People In Your Daily Life
You may be outside the transgender community and want to show support beyond Transgender Day of Visibility. Below are a few ways you can offer support and care:
- Speak up when you hear someone say something transphobic or disrespectful to the trans community.
- Listen to and believe transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people when they speak up about problems or express the need for change.
- If someone comes out to you, ask them how you can support them.
- Don't out your trans friends to their family, strangers, or others without their consent.
- Respect their pronouns and name. Do not use their deadname (old name).
- Consider using pronouns for yourself when meeting someone new or adding them to your email signature.
Note that pronouns are the words others use to describe you, and every person has pronouns, regardless of gender. Common pronouns include she, him, they, ze, and it. When someone asks your pronouns, they're asking which word you'd like them to refer to you with, not your gender. Studies have found that using a trans person's correct pronouns can improve their mental health.
Mental Health And The Transgender Community
Not every trans person experiences mental health challenges; being transgender is not a mental illness. However, being trans increases the risk of mental health conditions, suicide, and self-harm. Many trans people experience mental health challenges like gender dysphoria, anxiety, mood disorders, and other mental health conditions. Below are a few trans mental health statistics to keep in mind:
- Trans people are more than six times more likely than non-trans people to attempt suicide resulting in hospitalization
- Over 39% of trans people report psychological distress
- Trans youth are more likely to experience isolation and social challenges
- Hormone therapy and gender-affirming care decrease depression and anxiety in trans people
- Trans women of color are at a higher risk of intimate partner violence, assault, and murder
Many of the challenges associated with being transgender are not due to having a trans identity but due to the risks of being transgender in a society where equal rights are considered a debate. Living in an area where gender expression, pronouns, and identity are not accepted can cause fear, stress, and mental health conditions. Family ostracization, a lack of community, and the risk of being a survivor of violence can also be causes of these symptoms.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or urges, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text 988 to talk to someone over SMS. They are available 24/7 to offer support.
If you're an LGBTQ+ youth in crisis, reach out to The Trevor Project hotline by calling 1-866-488-7386 or texting "START" to 678-678. You can also use their online chat.
The Positive Impact Of Care For Trans Individuals
Below are some of the positive impacts of respecting trans individuals from the 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health:
- Trans and non-binary youth who reported that their pronouns were respected by the people they live with attempted suicide over 50% less than those whose pronouns were not respected by housemates.
- Research shows lower rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors among transgender and non-binary youth who were able to change their gender marker and name on legal documents.
How Common Are Mental Health Issues In The Trans Community?
Treatment For Anxiety, Depression, And Other Conditions
If you or a loved one is experiencing mental health symptoms, speak to your physician or healthcare provider about an assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plan to help you manage stress and symptoms. Many mental illnesses are treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy (talk therapy), which can help teach healthy ways to cope with symptoms and communicate your needs and feelings with those in your life. In addition, a therapist can be a step toward receiving gender-affirming care in some states.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common psychotherapy approach because it teaches clients to identify harmful or unwanted thought patterns and behaviors, shift toward healthier habits, and recognize those emotions in the future to cope with stress and mental health symptoms. If you are experiencing traumatic stress due to stigma, transphobia, or another concern, you may also benefit from trauma therapy with an LGBTQ-friendly therapist.
How To Receive Support
If you or a loved one need support for trans issues or other mental health concerns in the trans community, the following resources may be valuable:
- The Trevor Project is a suicide prevention and crisis support organization for LGBTQIA+ youth. To reach the Trevor Lifeline, call 1-866-488-7386, text "START" to 678-678, or head to their website to chat. The Trevor Project also has an Ally Guide.
- The Trans Lifeline is available for transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people who need someone to talk to. You don't have to be in crisis to contact Trans Lifeline. You can find Trans Lifeline online or call one of the following numbers: US: 877-565-8860 or Canada: 877-330-6366.
- SAGE's National LGBT Elder Hotline provides support and resources for LGBTQIA+ elders 24/7. Call 877-360-LGBT (5428) to reach the hotline.
- The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) is a legal resource to support transgender individuals experiencing legal challenges related to their gender identity.
Counseling Options For LGBTQ+ Individuals
If you are a part of the transgender or LGBTQ+ community, you may be at a significantly higher risk of developing mental health conditions. If you are concerned about your mental health, consider working with a licensed therapist. Many LGBTQ+ individuals opt into online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp for individuals or PrideCounseling for the LGBTQ+ community.
Online therapy can be beneficial because it allows you to receive care from a safe location and express interest in being matched with an LGBTQ+ therapist that understands your needs. If you are seeking therapy for your trans child, platforms like TeenCounseling offer support for adolescents aged 13 to 19.
According to researchers at the American Psychological Association, online therapy provides users with many benefits and outcomes similar to treatment in the traditional setting. Therapy can help manage the effects and symptoms of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, both common for trans youth and adults. Those working with the APA stated that the convenience of online therapy made it possible to attend more sessions, which increased the efficiency and duration of therapeutic outcomes. Clients also frequently commented that the added physical distance of virtual therapy made it easier to impart personal details to their therapists.
If you're seeking support, reaching out to a therapist through an online platform or in person can be valuable. There are thousands of therapists in the US, and over 41.7 million US adults see a therapist, with the number growing. Join the numbers and reach out for help. You're not alone, and trans mental healthcare is available.
What are the different pride months?
While there are a multitude of days and weeks dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Month in June, provides visibility and support to individuals of any orientation, age or identity fighting for the rights and acceptance they deserve.
What is the biggest transgender festival?
As of 2022, the New York City Pride March is considered the biggest pride festival in the nation with an estimated 2 to 2.5 million attendees each year. The NYC Pride March aims to bring joy to and fight hate against LGBTQ+ individuals including transgender youth, and non-binary people.
What was the first fraternity to welcome transgender students?
In December 2014, SigmaPhi Epsilon became the first school fraternity in the North American Interfraternity Conference to accept transgender students.
Who created the transgender flag?
The transgender flag was created by transgender Navy veteran, Monica Helms, in 1999. In her own words, Helms explains, "The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it will always be correct. This symbolizes us trying to find correctness in our own lives."
What year did Pride Month start?
Pride Month started in 1970 to commemorate the Stonewall riots, marking a turning point in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, including those of trans kids, parents, and families.
What is the transgender capital of the world?
While there isn't a specific "transgender capital of the world," cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City have been at the forefront of the fight for transgender rights, showcasing the progress made for transgender individuals, including trans kids, students and families.
Which country has transgender flag?
The transgender flag represents international visibility for transgender rights and is not tied to a specific nation.
What is transgender surgery called?
Transgender surgery is often referred to as gender-affirming surgery. For trans-men, gender-affirming surgery may encompass mastectomy or hysterectomy. For trans-women, gender-affirming surgery may include penectomy or vaginoplasty. In most cases, gender-affirming surgery allows transgender individuals the opportunity to thrive within their own skin.
What are the pride colors?
While the original pride colors included red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, the Progress Pride Flag, created nonbinary artist, Daniel Quasar, incorporates black, brown, light blue, pink, and white to symbolize the underrepresented communities within the LGBTIQ+ spectrum.
Who was the transgender war hero?
Monica Helms is a transgender U.S. Navy veteran whose visibility celebrates transgender bravery, activism and service.
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