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Today, March 31st, is Trans* Day of Visibility (TDOV). While I am constantly learning what it means to be an ally to any marginalized group, I do know the most important action anyone can take is to silence your own voice in order to elevate the stories of those who are often silenced. As today is the 31st, I have tried my best to put together a list of 31 facts and resources in hopes to spread awareness of the transgender community. It is our job to educate ourselves.

From what I see and hear in person, at conferences, or on social media, conversations about the trans community are either happening in deep and meaningful ways or not at all. I believe this stems from an array of issues but I do know that the dialogue needs to start somewhere. Wherever you are, whether you are not sure what the difference between “sex” and “gender” is, are wondering what “gender identity” means, or you are ready for action steps to fight for the rights of the transgender community, I hope this can help.

I want to wish all the trans women a happy women’s month! Finally, I want to say to everyone who identifies as a trans person, gender non-conforming person, genderqueer person, or non-binary person, you are beautiful.

 *** I do not claim the rights to any of the information below. All of the material has been used from the sources that are listed at the bottom of this post.

  • The International #TDoV is an annual holiday celebrated around the world. The day is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments and victories of transgender & gender non-conforming people while raising awareness of the work that is still needed to save trans lives.

  • There are 1.4 million transgender people in the United States. Here is an introduction to just a few of them:

  • Despite increased national media visibility, this year goes on record as one of the most dangerous years for transgender and gender non-conforming people, with alarming rates of violence, homicides, and suicides - specifically impacting trans women of color and youth.

  • Transgender people or trans people have a gender identity or gender expression that is different than the sex assigned at birth. Some trans people – but not all – take legal, social, and/or medical steps to transition, that is, express their inner gender identity.

  • Gender identity refers to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth.

  • More than two thirds of trans people do not identify in the gender binary, meaning exclusively as female or male. This is why it is usually better to refer to “gender equality” rather than “equality between women and men”.

  • In our societies, a person is perceived as either “male” or “female” – two mutually exclusive categories. As a result, trans people and all those who transgress gender norms are likely to experience stigmatization and discrimination.
    • People can identify from an array of gender identities: gender non-conforming (GNC), genderqueer, non-binary, just to name a few.

  • Being transgender means different things to different people. Like a lot of other aspects of who people are, like race or religion, there's no one story or person who can represent the whole community.

  • Gender indentity and sexual orientation are two different things. 

    Gender identity refers to your internal knowledge of your own gender—for example, your knowledge that you're a man, a woman, or another gender.
    Sexual orientation has to do with whom you’re attracted to.
    Here's a helpful resource: The Gingerbread Person v3 

  • Never assume someone’s gender. Ever.

  • Trans women are women. Trans women are a type of woman, just as women of color, disabled women, and Christian women are types of women. Just as you would be bigoted to deny these women their womanhood, so would you be to deny trans women of theirs.

  • Always use a transgender person's chosen name. Many transgender people are able to obtain a legal name change from a court. However, some transgender people cannot afford a legal name change or are not yet old enough to legally change their name. They should be afforded the same respect for their chosen name as anyone else who uses a name other than their birth name.

  •  Use the pronoun that matches the person's authentic gender. A person who identifies as a certain gender, whether or not that person has taken hormones or undergone surgery, should be referred to using the pronouns appropriate for that gender. If you are not certain which pronoun to use, ask the person, "What pronouns do you use?" This is said to be someone’s PGP or preferred gender pronoun.

  • Language matters:



"transgenders," "a transgender"

"transgender people","a transgender person"

"sex change," "pre-operative," "post-operative”


"biologically male," "biologically female," "genetically male," "genetically female,"

"assigned male at birth," "assigned female at birth" or "designated male at birth," "designated female at birth"


Defamatory: "deceptive," "fooling," "pretending," "posing," "trap," or "masquerading"

· Gender identity is an integral part of a person's identity. Do not characterize transgender people as "deceptive," as "fooling" or "trapping" others, or as "pretending" to be, "posing" or "masquerading" as a man or a woman. Such descriptions are inaccurate and insulting.

Defamatory: "tranny," "she-male," "he/she," "it," "shim"

· These words dehumanize transgender people and should not be used in any way at any time. Please note that while you may hear some transgender people may use "tranny" to describe themselves, others find it extremely offensive.

  • People not parts:
    It is inappropriate to ask a transgender person questions about their genitals or other surgeries they may have had. Avoid medical questions. They distract everyone (including yourself) as seeing the whole person – and from discussing larger issues that affect transgender people, such as disproportionate rates of discrimination, poverty, and violence. Also, it’s none of your business.
  • Homicides:
  • A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey illuminated startling and frankly, repulsive, statistics.
  • School:
    • Of those who expressed a transgender identity or gender non-conformity while in grades K-12 reported alarming rates of harassment (78%), physical assault (35%) and sexual violence (12%); harassment was so severe that it led almost one-sixth (15%) to leave a school in K-12 settings or in higher education.
  • Careers:
    • Ninety percent (90%) of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job or took actions like hiding who they are to avoid it.
  • Sex work/Selling Drugs:
    • Overall, 16% said they had been compelled to work in the underground economy for income (such as doing sex work or selling drugs).
  • Harassment:
    • Fifty-three percent (53%) of respondents reported being verbally harassed or disrespected in a place of public accommodation, including hotels, restaurants, buses, airports and government agencies.
  • Identification:
    • Of those who have transitioned gender, only one-fifth (21%) have been able to update all of their IDs and records with their new gender. One-third (33%) of those who had transitioned had updated none of their IDs/records.
  • Interactions with Police:
    • One-fifth (22%) of respondents who have interacted with police reported harassment by police, with much higher rates reported by people of color.
  • Housing:
    • Respondents reported various forms of direct housing discrimination — 19% reported having been refused a home or apartment and 11% reported being evicted because of their gender identity/expression.
  • Homelessness:
    • One-fifth (19%) reported experiencing homelessness at some point in their lives because they were transgender or gender nonconforming; the majority of those trying to access a homeless shelter were harassed by shelter staff or residents (55%), 29% were turned away altogether, and 22% were sexually assaulted by residents or staff.
  • Medical Care:
    • Refusal of care: 19% of our sample reported being refused medical care due to their transgender or gender non-conforming status, with even higher numbers among people of color in the survey.
  • Doctors:
    • Uninformed doctors: 50% of the sample reported having to teach their medical providers about transgender care.
  • Military:
    • A 2014 report from the Williams Institute estimates that there are over 15,000 transgender individuals serving on active duty and there are over 134,300 transgender veterans. According to their data, 32% were assigned male at birth and 5.5% were assigned female at birth.
  • Law:
  • EDUCATE YOURSELF to inform others! Use the internet. Use other allies. Don’t rely on asking a trans person to do work that you can Google. As people of any marginalized community, they have enough to deal with. Again, it our job to education ourselves and those around us. Here are some myths that you can learn about and dispel.
  • Get off the computer:
    • Understand that liking posts on Facebook and retweeting Twitter threads isn’t the only thing you should be doing to confront transmisogyny. Testify at your capitol regarding discriminatory bills. Compensate trans women for their work. Expand access to jobs and resources. The most important action that you can do is to be quiet in order to elevate transgender people to speak for themselves. Stop talking. Stop talking and listen to hear, not to respond.


The shirt I am wearing is from Trans Is Beautiful Apparel. Purchase your own! It would mean showing your support for the community, financially supporting a trans person's business, and also financially aiding a trans person in need. #transisbeautiful

By Samantha Gorley, CWEALF Legal Intern at 31 Mar 2017, 12:47 PM



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