International Transgender Day of Visibility

March 31, 2022

International Transgender Day of Visibility (also called TDOV, Transgender Day of Visibility) is an annual event occurring on March 31 dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as a celebration of their contributions to society.

The day was founded by transgender activist Rachel Crandall in 2009 as a reaction to the lack of LGBT recognition of transgender people, citing the frustration that the only well-known transgender-centered day was the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which mourned the murders of transgender people, but did not acknowledge and celebrate living members of the transgender community. The first International Transgender Day of Visibility was held on March 31, 2009. In 2014, the day was observed by activists across the world.

In the face of seemingly relentless attacks, transgender and non-binary people are more visible than ever before. We are proud to recognize International Transgender Day of Visibility and the determination it takes for transgender and non-binary people to be living openly and authentically today. Transgender people are our friends and family, our neighbors and our colleagues — and, like all of us, simply want to live their lives every day as who they are. However, even as we celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, we must recognize and remember that there are many trans and non-binary people in this country, and across the globe, who are not able to safely live their lives as their full selves, as well as those who face discrimination and violence for living openly. Today and every day, we will fight for a world where all transgender and non-binary people are able to lives their lives as their full selves, free from discrimination.

-Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

Joe Biden officially proclaimed March 31, 2021, as a Transgender Day of Visibility, proclaiming in part, “I call upon all Americans to join in the fight for full equality for all transgender people.” The White House published this proclamation; this made Biden the first American president to issue a formal presidential proclamation recognizing the Transgender Day of Visibility.

2021 Proclamation on Transgender Day Of Visibility

2022 Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility

How to Be a Good Ally

VPA is happy to recognize and celebrate the Trans community. When you become an ally of transgender people, your actions will help change the culture, making society a better, safer place for transgender people and for all people (trans or not) who do not conform to conventional gender expectations.

There is no one way to be a ‘perfect’ ally. The transgender community is diverse and complex, coming from every region of the United States and around the world, from every racial and ethnic background, and from every faith community. This means that different members of the transgender community have different needs and priorities. Similarly, there is no one right way to handle every situation, or interact with every trans person. Be respectful, do your best, and keep trying. Here are a few basics to remember:

  • You don’t have to understand someone’s identity to respect it.
  • You can’t always tell if someone is transgender simply by looking at them.
  • There is no “one right way” to be transgender.
  • Continue to educate yourself.

Here is a full page dedicated to being a trans ally!

Additional Resources

Common Terms

  • Transgender: An adjective describing a person whose gender identity or expression is different from that traditionally associated with an assigned gender at birth.
  • Gender Expression: The manner in which a person represents or expresses gender to others, often through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, activities, voice, or mannerisms.
  • Gender Identity: A person’s deeply held sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender, which can include being female, male, another gender, or no gender. Gender identity is an innate and largely inflexible part of a person’s identity. One’s gender identity can be the same or different than the gender assigned at birth. The responsibility for determining an individual’s gender identity rests with the individual. Children typically begin to understand their own gender identity by age four, although the age at which individuals come to understand and express their gender identity may vary based on each person’s social and familial development.
  • Gender Nonconforming: A term for people whose gender expression differs from stereotypical expectations, such as “feminine” boys, “masculine” girls, and those who are perceived as androgynous. This includes people who identify outside traditional gender categories or identify as multiple genders. Other terms that can have similar meanings include gender diverse or gender expansive.
  • Nonbinary/Genderqueer: Terms used by those who identify with neither, both, or a combination of genders.
  • Sexual Orientation: A person’s romantic and/or physical attraction to people of the same or opposite gender or other genders. Transgender and gender nonconforming people may have any sexual orientation.
  • Transition: The process in which a person goes from living and identifying as one gender to living and identifying as another. Transition is a process that is different for everyone, and it may or may not involve social, legal, or physical changes. There is no one step or set of steps that an individual must undergo in order to have their gender identity affirmed and respected.