VOICES FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Creating Visibility and Change for the Trans Community

We asked three trans activists what Transgender Day of Visibility means to them, particularly now as lawmakers across several states spread hateful rhetoric and support legislation that impairs the trans community’s fundamental human rights.

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Transgender Day of Visibility has historically been a time to recognize and celebrate the achievements of trans people around the world—bringing the trans community together, educating the public, and inspiring hope.

What’s often lost in these conversations though is that Transgender Day of Visibility can be very triggering for the trans community, said Daniella Carter, part of the RFK Young Leaders network. “What visibility means in today’s time, is that they don’t want us in sports, they can refuse to provide healthcare and services, they can murder us.”

We asked Daniella and two of our other trans activists what Transgender Day of Visibility means to them and what they want people to know about the trans community, particularly now as lawmakers across several states spread hateful rhetoric and dangerous legislation that questions even their most basic human rights.

CLAUDIA SPELLMANT (SHE/HER)

What does Transgender Day of Visibility mean to you?

“That we exist and can express ourselves freely without fear of being rejected; that we have the same rights, same opportunities; that we are equal human beings and deserve acceptance, tolerance, and above all RESPECT for our gender identity,” said Claudia Spellmant, founder of Collective TTT. “I should be able to express myself without fear of being judged or dying.”

It’s important to note that trans people are not some kind of new phenomenon. “We have existed since the beginning of the history of humanity, we are not a human invention. We have feelings, plans, projects, we are part of society whether they like it or not, and we are in the majority of spaces in an invisible way in a discriminatory society but visible to the world. We are brave people despite the fact that our history has been written in blood.”

DANIELLA CARTER (SHE/HER)

What do you want people to know about the transgender community?

“I want people to know that transgender people are not only what we see in media,” said Daniella Carter. “Transgender people are doctors, lawyers, teachers, police officers, dentists, scientists, Olympians, and local business owners. So right when you think we are just a freak show or humans who don’t deserve human rights, remember we are your community and we are here and we will not be erased by your bigotry and anti-trans rhetoric. We will fight back because trans youth are depending on it and I have no plans on letting them down.”

DIONTRE JONES (THEY/THEM)

What brings you joy?

“Finally being comfortable in my skin being non-binary,” said Diontre Jones, part of the RFK Young Leaders network. “It brings so much joy to my life that I finally found who I really am as a human being. I got out of a bubble I felt trapped in forever and am happy to express my true self.”

Photography by George Etheredge.

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