Transgender Day of Visibility

By Michelle Risher
Oregon DNC Committeewoman

In 2010, trans advocate Rachel Crandall, head of Transgender Michigan, created the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) to raise awareness about transgender people and draw attention “to the poverty, discrimination, and violence the community faces.”

Every March 31st, the TDOV is a celebration of the lives and contributions of a wonderful tapestry of trans lives, having so much to offer, but far-too-often victimized, with unrealized, untapped potential, wasted in lives of not-so-quiet desperation, lived largely internally in fear and violence.

Beginning with Trump’s attack on transgender patriots serving or wanting to serve in our military, Republicans have launched a ceaseless assault on transgender, nonbinary, and intersex lives since 2016. And since their defeats in November of 2020, they have stepped up their unfounded and hateful legal and rhetorical attacks.

By May 7th of last year, a Human Rights Campaign press release stated that officially, 2021 was the worst year in recent history, breaking 2015’s record, with laws passed:

  • making it a felony to provide transgender youth with life-saving health care;
  • banning transgender girls from participating in sports;
  • erasing LGBTQ people from school curriculum; and,
  • granting broad licenses to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

These Republican efforts have targeted the trans community across the country. Recently, and most frighteningly, a former Mississippi Republican representative and author of the state’s death penalty law, tweeted the transgender individuals and their supporters “…need to be lined up against [a] wall before a firing squad to be sent to an early judgment.”

All of this under the pretense of ‘religious freedom”, attempting to legitimize an anti-evidence/anti-science mindset with the terrifying goal of criminalizing and eradicateing all trans, gender nonconforming, or intersex human beings on a global basis.

I know first-hand—and all-too-well—what living a bifurcated life, in fear of discovery, does not only to all whose gender is determined solely upon a purely physical, unscientific cursory examination. Also, the collateral damage wreaked upon our circle of family, friends, and lovers or spouses.

These are the learned truths of a 68-year-old trans woman with disabilities. It has everything to do with living a life as someone other than myself, and unless we pass the Equality Act, we will be condemning generations of trans siblings to a similar fate.

On this Transgender Day of Visibility, I am asking that trans Democrats step forward and achieve far more than I ever will, ensuring that not only are we visible, but we are fully equal, making the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness a reality.

In solidarity,

Michelle Risher
Oregon DNC Committeewoman