A guide to transgender visibility

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It’s been 10 years since activist Rachel Crandall established Trans Day of Visibility (TDoV) as the first holiday of its kind: a celebration of transgender and nonbinary people, meant to raise awareness of the discrimination we face in order to create a world where we can enjoy the fullness of our lives.

Many trans people face a grim decision regarding visibility in an era where modest gains for trans rights coexist with rising far-right reactionary backlash. This can be particularly difficult for newly-out trans people or those just beginning to fully embrace the complexity of their identities, as they attempt to navigate the murky, uncertain waters of being visibly trans. Here are a few pieces of advice that I hope can bring clarity.

How do I handle cis people asking me to explain my gender to them?

One of the least fun things about being visibly trans is when cis people take it as an invitation to interrogate you. Not all of these interactions are hostile, but enough are, and even if it’s just an overly inquisitive friend, cis folks don’t understand how invasive those questions can feel. Whether it happens face-to-face or online, it can be difficult to know how to navigate those situations, especially if you (like me) feel an obligation to try and educate people who just happen to be a little clueless.

You don’t owe your story to cis people, though. It’s good to increase awareness, but unless they’re planning to pay your invoice, you don’t need to feel any obligation to do labor for them. Judge each interaction on its own, and if you feel comfortable and safe enough in that moment to share how you relate to yourself, go for it — bringing more empathy into the world is always a noble goal. If not, well…we’ll get to that in a minute.

Read on…

Comments 3

  1. Starting to read this article i stopped on the word combination “cis people”. WTF the emphasis on the “cis” means ? Nothing to me. There exist “Trans People”, “Gender non conforming People” and just “People”. This preword “cis” does not bring any more classification or information on Trans and Gender non conforming people.
    I stopped reading on this not neccessary for survival word “cis”

    1. Im sorry you get so easily triggered by a writer providing definitions and clarity on the topics they are writing about. For the sake of your own mental health, I advise you to stay away from dictionaries, the experience may just be too much for you to bear.

  2. Dollar for Dollar, do care not what ever the other has nor portrays its self as. They and This can work IT out. SEX and MONEY rule the world ? NO ! Accommodate LL ,,,

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