Exploring The Importance Of Transgender Day Of Visibility (TDOV)

Medically reviewed by Melissa Guarnaccia, LCSW
Updated September 21, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include suicide which could be triggering to the reader. If you or someone you love is having suicidal thoughts, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. Free, one-on-one support is available 24/7. Please also see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

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.

Do You Know Why Transgender Day Of Visibility Matters?

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 dysphoriaanxietymood disorders, and other mental health conditions. Below are a few trans mental health statistics to keep in mind: 

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?

According to a 2019 study involving more than 10,000 transgender patients, 58% reported at least one psychiatric diagnosis, compared to 13.6% in the control population. The study further found that major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder were the most common mental health conditions among transgender people.

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. 

Do You Know Why Transgender Day Of Visibility Matters?

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. 


International Transgender Day of Visibility has significance to both transgender and cisgender people. It can be essential to understand the history and experiences of all communities to avoid repeating past mistakes. The fight for transgender rights has continued through 2023, and trans rights may be in jeopardy. Being an ally for trans people in your life and community can help those you live with and around feel safer. If you are trans yourself, finding a safe and accepting community can be essential. 

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.

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