Sixth Annual Transgender Day Of Visibility

By |2015-03-12T09:00:00-04:00March 12th, 2015|Michigan, News|

BY AJ TRAGER

ROYAL OAK – Executive Director of Transgender Michigan, Rachel Crandall, started the International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) in 2009 when she noticed that the major holidays honoring trans identities were all centered around remembrance and calling out injustice. She wanted a day where transgender people could be proud of who they are and be out and be visible.
After six years, the holiday has changed and grown significantly and is celebrated internationally in countries like Russia, Brazil and France. Through outreach and education, TDoV has influenced policy changes, broadened acceptance of the transgender community and changed hearts and minds.
“It’s not just a holiday anymore – it’s a movement,” Crandall said. “Being visible is the only way people are going to understand us, to actually see us and to actually meet us. If all they do is read about it, it’s not going to feel real to them. They need to see our faces.”
But being visible, Crandall cautions, isn’t the right path for everyone and she suggests taking time. Trans Day of Visibility is that leap for some individuals.
“I am a psychotherapist. And I tell people to seek out a therapist, to try and go to support groups and to try and come to one of our many events or actions,” Crandall said. “Every year we have people at these events who say they have never been outside of the house like ‘this.’ And I want to say that this is their day. I want to say, ‘This day is for all trans people on our planet.'”
Crandall, with the help of Affirmations, is putting together a transgender art show that opens on March 26 in the Pittmann-Puckett gallery located in Affirmations as a precursor to the yearly event.
“We’re all artists, and we’ve all done some writing, poetry or drawings. I’m encouraging people to take what they can make and to show it to everyone, so they can appreciate it,” Crandall said.
This will be the first time that she has attempted an art gallery exhibit for the event but is positive that art will prove as a good medium to showcase trans voices like they have never been heard before.
“I think trans voices are really silenced,” Crandall said. “So we really want to showcase them. We want to let trans people know that they do have a voice.”
East Michigan is hosting additional events to honor TDoV. On March 13, Char Davenport, trans activist and president of the Mid-Michigan chapter of Transgender Michigan, will give her talk, “Trans Visibility: No Plan B,” at the University of Michigan, where she will discuss the transition from invisibility to visibility, being an unapologetic activist, opportunities to create change and the warning signs of trouble ahead for the trans community. The event starts at 6 p.m. in room 1405, East Quadrangle at 701 E. University Ave. in Ann Arbor.
The flagship event is a night of poetry that will be held at Five15 in downtown Royal Oak on March 31. In previous years, the event has attracted around 60 people and she expects about the same number this year.
On March 30, Affirmations will host a trans ally training and Crandall will give a keynote address on the Michigan State University campus at 6:30 p.m. March 29, where she will emphasize specific trans issues that affect the world globally and how the LGBT community and allies can grow and strengthen support for the trans community.
“If I can make an impact, anyone can make an impact,” Crandall said. “There are so many things that we can do, and these days a lot of them are online. If I could create an international holiday on Facebook, imagine what others can do.”

About the Author:

Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.