Trans visibility day. Photo: Human Rights Campaign
Thursday is International Transgender Day of Visibility. Some Central Floridians will celebrate community while drawing attention to transphobia in the recently passed “Don’t Say Gay” law.
The new law prohibits students in kindergarten through third grade from discussing sexuality and gender identity. This includes transgender and non-gender confirming people and their stories.
But Ace Davis, a transgender activist who works at Bliss Cares in Orlando, says he hopes kids don’t think about the law on Transgender Awareness Day.
He just wants them to accept who they are and be children.
“I think the most important thing is to keep in mind that so many of us have our backs, and we’re doing everything we can to try to change those things. And so I don’t want them to have feeling like they’re carrying it all on their shoulders because they should just be able to experience childhood and really just, you know, have a good time.
Davis says the day is more important than ever this year, with the new law in mind, as the festivities can highlight trans joy.
“I think it’s just going to make these events even more important, I think it’s going to be a really great opportunity for people in the community to come together at a time when I think a lot of people are struggling.”
Davis, says he finds joy in the relationship he has with his fiancée of nine years and in the inclusive gym in which he trains.
Andrea Montanez, a transgender activist who works at the Hope Community Center, says doing the work she loves in an environment where she can be fully herself brings her joy.
“It’s a community of joy. Because they accept you and you can be yourself. And you feel proud every day because every day you can show more people. Some people have never met a transgender person in their life. And now they respect me and they are my friends.
Montanez understands if people are afraid to celebrate this year, but like Davis, she says the only way to combat rising anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ sentiment across the country is to send this message out loud and clear. , “we are here and we are not going anywhere.
And for transgender youth, she says:
“Hold on to hope. No one can change who you are and speak because your voice is valid. Of course, be careful, but I see you and we are fighting for you.
Rachel Crandall-Crocker, a transgender activist from Michigan, started Trans Visibility Day in 2009. Learn more about the day here.