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Celebrate Michigan-Founded International Transgender Day of Visibility

Attend a rally, a community conversation, catch a performance or watch a documentary from home

Sarah Bricker Hunt

As any card-carrying member of the Michigan LGBTQ+ community likely knows, International Transgender Day of Visibility was born right here in the Great Lakes State in 2009, when Transgender Michigan co-founder and executive director Rachel Crandall Crocker established the observance. She told Pride Source in 2021, "I was so sad that our only day was the Transgender Day of Remembrance.”

Fifteen years later, the annual March 31 observance has become a day for celebrating trans joy and recognizing the contributions of trans people to their communities all over the globe. President Biden issued his fourth annual Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility on March 30, which reads, in part:

Transgender Day of Visibility celebrates the joy, strength, and absolute courage of some of the bravest people I know — people who have too often had to put their jobs, relationships, and lives on the line just to be their true selves. Today, we show millions of transgender and nonbinary Americans that we see them, they belong, and they should be treated with dignity and respect. Their courage has given countless others strength, but no one should have to be brave just to be themselves. Every American deserves that freedom.

Crandall Crocker delivered remarks at The Dovetail in Warren on March 27. "I’m often asked how I started an international movement," she said. "I don’t know. I wasn’t aware it would become a movement. However, it really has — all over the world."

Here's what is happening in Michigan in observance of Transgender Day of Visibility.

Ann Arbor Public Library - Interview with Jamie John

March 30, 12-1 p.m., 343 S. 5th Ave., 4th floor meeting room

In addition to a name change clinic on March 29, the Ann Arbor library system will hold an event featuring artist Jamie John, a two-spirit trans and queer Anishinaabe and Korean-American multi-disciplinary artist. Visit aadl.org/tdov for more information about the event and the other ways the library is observing International Trans Day of Visibility. 

Dolls Night Detroit Mini Gala

March 31, 7:30-10 p.m., The Jam Handy (2900 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit)

Dolls Night Detroit, a transgender and non-binary community advocacy group and event series, will hold an International Trans Day of Visibility event on March 31 at The Jam Handy in Detroit. The event features a catered meal and performances by harpist Ahya Simone, poets Amante Pando Girard and Mack Thursday. Speakers include Racquelle “Miss Mouthy” Trammelle, Aidel Hawkins, Jay Philip and Christian DeSwan. Visit the Dolls Night website for tickets.

Transgender Day of Visibility Rally at the Capitol

March 30, 2-4 p.m., Michigan State Capitol lawn (100 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing)

Head to Lansing March 30 for a rally at the state capitol building. Crandall Crocker will lead the event, which features speakers from around the state. Stick around for an after-party starting at 6:30 at The Avenue (2021 E. Michigan Ave.), featuring more speakers, door prizes, giveaways, fundraisers, pinball, karaoke and more. Learn more here

Watch a Transgender-Focused Documentary

You don’t even have to leave home to observe International Trans Day of Visibility. Several excellent documentaries focused on the lived experience of trans people have been produced over the past several years and are conveniently available for your streaming pleasure.

  • “Disclosure” (Netflix), 2020: Actors Laverne Cox, Bianca Leigh and Jen Richards discuss their experiences working as out transgender actors in Hollywood and the impact of transgender representation on the wider American culture. 
  • “Always Jane” (Prime Video), 2021: A four-part series focused on the day-to-day life of Jane Noury, a trans teenager growing up in rural New Jersey, and her family as they navigate life in a conservative pocket of the country.
  • “Little Girl” (Prime Video), 2020: Eight-year-old French girl Sasha knows who she is, but the adults around here can’t seem to grasp her reality. The documentary explores Sasha’s life in rural France and how her unequivocally supportive parents deal with the prevailing anti-trans sentiment in their town.
  • “Transhood” (HBO, Hulu, Prime Video), 2020: Similar to 2014’s “Boyhood,” this coming-of-age documentary follows four trans kids between the ages of 4 and 15 over five years as they grow up in the Midwest. 
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