The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

Celebration and Advocacy: Transgender Day of Visibility

Celebration+and+Advocacy%3A+Transgender+Day+of+Visibility
Riley Scott

On Nov. 28, 1998, Rita Hester, a singer and Black transgender woman, was murdered in her apartment at 21 Park Vale Ave. in Boston. Hester was misgendered and deadnamed by media covering the murder. The tragedy incited trans advocates to march through her neighborhood the next year, creating the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Until 2009, TDOR was the only mainstream observance advocating equal rights for trans people, honoring the memory of trans people whose lives were lost because of anti-trans violence. Transgender advocacy in the media was largely dominated by news of anti-trans violence; Transgender Day of Visibility seeks to move visibility beyond that.

In 2009, Rachel Crandall-Crocker founded TDOV to unify people by celebrating trans people rather than grieve.

“I wanted a day that we can celebrate the living, and I wanted a day that all over the world we could be all together,” Crandall-Crocker said in an interview with The 19th.

Every March 31, TDOV celebrates trans, nonbinary and gender non-conforming people while raising awareness of work to create equality and acceptance.

According to GLAAD’s Accelerating Acceptance 2023 study, support for LGBTQ+ rights in America among non-LGBTQ+ people is at an all-time high. Still, the study found a direct correlation between insufficient representation of the trans community in media and advertising and a lack of familiarity as individuals who comprise the LGBTQ+ community.

The study also showed non-LGBTQ+ people who are exposed to the LGBTQ+ community in media are 30% more likely to feel comfortable with the community than those without that exposure.

TDOV is a call to action to have more fair and accurate representation, and here are some ways to celebrate, advocate and seek out representation.

Exposure

Learn more about the transgender and nonbinary communities and their history, and share what you learn. Whether you watch a documentary like “Disclosure” (2020), read a book by a trans author like “Queerly Beloved” by Diane and Jacob Anderson-Minshall or talk with local advocacy groups, exposure is the first step to learning more about people different from you.

If any Kansas State students want to take their education a step further, consider enrolling in a class or volunteering with the Department of Social Transformation Studies.

Advocacy

As of March 15, the American Civil Liberties Union is tracking 16 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in Kansas. Knowing what representatives are doing and holding them accountable is crucial to making change. Consider writing them letters to ensure they make trans-friendly decisions and researching what policies they have voted for before voting them into office.

Another way to advocate for trans and nonbinary equality is to speak out against anti-trans comments. Challenging discrimination is crucial to achieving more equality and acceptance for trans and nonbinary people, so if you see something, say something.

Volunteer

To make a difference, volunteer at trans-advocacy and gender-affirming healthcare organizations within the community or attend educational events like the Transformations in the Workplace event in Kansas City, Missouri.

Connect

Reach out to LGBTQ+ organizations in the community and see how you can support them or access resources. At K-State, the Spectrum Center, formerly known as the LGBT Resource Center, is located at 207 Holton Hall and is a great place to find tools, scholarships and more.

Attending a rally, like the Equality Kansas rally at the state capital in Topeka on April 1, also showcases support and allows people to hear voices from different advocacy groups in the area.

Donate

If you have the means, consider donating to diversity and trans-advocacy groups. Kansas State University Foundation, the Spectrum Center and the Human Rights Campaign are all great places to start — just specify the donated funds are intended to support trans and nonbinary resources.

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About the Contributors
Kaitlynn Faber, arts & culture editor
A&C editor for spring 2024. Previously asst. A&C editor for fall 2023 and writer for 2022-23.
Riley Scott, graphic design chief
Graphic design chief for spring 2024.
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