Each year, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan honors Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31. On this day we celebrate trans, nonbinary, and gender diverse Michiganders and lift the voices and experiences of these communities.
This year, we asked some of the Planned Parenthood of Michigan Gender Affirming Care Community Advisory Board members to share with us what Transgender Day of Visibility means to them. Board member AJ Julcher shared their thoughts as a nonbinary Michigander:
“TDOV for me is about the capital “T” Trans. I don’t consider myself trans as a non-binary person, but capital “T” Trans is the collective of folks along the gender spectrum who exist outside the norm. And we are all visible in our own ways. There are binary trans folks who pass as a cisgender person of their true gender and experience the beauty and visibility of being themselves without much question. They get to choose to share their transness, show they truly are a man or woman without question and they are valid. There are folks who may be pre-transition or choosing not to pursue gender affirming care (GAC) but present as the gender people don’t consider them to be; these are sometimes the bravest folks to choose to be visible, as they are existing as themselves in a world that often does not respect who they are. They choose to be visible knowing that many people want them to be invisible. And then there are folks like me, who don’t identify with a binary gender but often people look at us and assign us one. Sometimes I desire to be visible as who I am and not be assumed as something else but also know that my visibility is a privilege for a stranger to know, as its nuance is so personal and requires depth and open-mindedness that not everyone can possess. As the Trans community, we are all visible in different ways or different degrees and when one person is more clearly known as trans, I think people like me who are a bit more unseen personally, still feel seen as a collective. Any Trans person’s visibility is visibility for us all, and a beautiful reminder that we are valid even if not everyone else can see it.
For the sake of brevity, I would say this: TDOV is about the collective Trans—all those who fall outside the “normal” gender dynamic—and celebrating those people clearly see and know as Trans, as well as those who are more hidden. For those of us who aren’t quite as publicly seen or known, I think we all still feel more visible when others in the community are seen. It’s a beautiful day that’s about more than just me being seen by my community or the public; it’s about all of us being seen through each other and celebrating one another, and the rest of the world being reminded we are out there.”
In 2023, Transgender Day of Visibility has been ushered in by recent legislation passed in Michigan to protect trans and nonbinary Michiganders from discrimination by amending the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights act to include gender identity or expression and sexual orientation. But while we celebrate this big step forward, we cannot ignore the growing attacks directed at the trans community from legislators across the country. Currently, many states are advancing legislation that directly targets gender affirming care, putting trans people at the center of harmful rhetoric and at risk of violence for simply being who they are. Gender-affirming care is life-saving health care that everyone should have access to without interference from politicians. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan stands with the trans and nonbinary communities. We see you, we are thankful for you, and we will never stop fighting for you.