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International Transgender Day of Visibility

The International Transgender Day of Visibility, commemorated on March 31, was started in 2009 to celebrate transgender people’s lives and to raise awareness about the discrimination that transgender people experience. SpeakOUT invited several of our trans speakers to describe the importance of visibility and why they choose to speak about their lives out in the community. These wonderful speakers are part of the long SpeakOUT history of “telling the truths of LGBTQ lives.”




My goal as an LGBT speaker is to gently encourage people to think more flexibly about gender and sexuality, to look beyond the binary boxes that we are too often pushed into: gay/straight, trans/cis, man/woman. I’m a trans woman who lived as a man for decades, but finally reached a point where I had the internal and external resources to transition. Although I now happily live and identify as a woman, I’m the kind of woman who continues to question what it means to be a woman or man. In my speaking, I hope to encourage the emergence of a future in which we can all live outside the box, expressing our own complex genders and sexualities. A future in which people aren’t reduced to their bodies.




As a trans-masculine person, I’m often asked, “Why be visible?” I can so easily fade into the fabric of our society, so why make myself stick out? I like to respond with a few questions of my own:  In a world where transgender people are still arrested, molested, assaulted, tortured, violated, and murdered for simply living their lives, how can I honestly choose to disappear? How can I hide behind a privilege that offers me the very safety not afforded to others? How can I leave my community without a helping hand? The world still clearly needs a lesson in humanity. We are teachers, firefighters, lawyers, bankers, truck drivers, engineers, doctors, police officers. We are parents, children, siblings, and grandparents. We are every-day, run-of-the-mill people, and yet, we still suffer gross injustices each day. Our youth are still seeking suicide as an answer to their suffering. Why be visible, you ask? Because I want every non-trans*person to realize that we are everywhere. And I want every trans*person around the world to know that no matter how bad it is, or how bad it gets, they are never, ever alone.



Mitzzy Anne

Why is it so important for me to live and speak about my life experiences as a transgender person? I live my life as a visible transwoman everyday, loving my family and friends, doing volunteer work, working hard at my job trying to be a good person as an example to others. I choose to speak about who I am so people will see that trans people are human like everyone else.

I believe that the more I can talk about my own life experiences, the easier it is for people to accept the trans community for who we are. The more of us who speak up to be heard, the easier it is for all of us to be treated with basic human rights, not just here in our community, but across the globe. When I tell my story, I talk about the hard times I had growing up in the hopes of making it that much easier for the next person to be who they are. I also feel that the more people who know about some of the outrages I have seen in my life, the easier it will be to rid the world of these injustices.

What I love most about sharing my story through SpeakOUT is that I, in turn, get to hear so many other inspiring stories of love and hope.




I love being an out trans person because of the people that I am able to relate to and form connections with. I hope that my enthusiastic visibility can show people that trans people are important because of the unique perspectives they bring. I am a special education teacher that works with autistic students that have intensive support needs. Recently, I had a student that expressed interest in wearing a dress and I was able to advocate for his right to make choices about what he wears. There were some people who wanted to prevent him from making this choice, but as an out trans man I knew how to advocate for him. I was able to find a ton of support amongst the administration and he’s been very happy wearing his new outfits at school.


Laurie Wolfe headshot


Being visible as an out trans person is important to me as a social and human rights activist. The more people see me (us) and get to know me (us) the more friends we make. When our common human experiences are out for all to see, the differences begin to be a source of interest and even wonder; we begin to live in the similarities. Therein lies the transformation of society from discrimination to inclusion, and from hate to appreciation and admiration. As a byproduct it creates community and safety, and helps bring about laws which protect me and my friends. This ensures a greater sense of ease for all our families.