Celebrating TDOV! The International Transgender Day of Visibility 3.31.22

To some people, the International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) celebrates the modern values of Tolerance and Inclusion. But no. It really celebrates a resurgence of our Ancestors’ advanced cultural values, a return to greater societal health, and the sputtering but welcome end of Colonialism. We are getting there.

Acceptance of Trans and Gender Non-Binary (GNB) people is a fine marker of how Colonial or Colonially conditioned a person is. Because before enslavement and the recent centuries’ imperial rampages, numerous traditional cultures around the world were so advanced socially, that Humanity embraced people of diverse genders as normal. Not only did some cultures give them revered roles in ceremony and ritual – but maybe more importantly Trans, GNB, and people beyond the binary were just everyday valued members of our communities and families.

See it for yourself in popular resources as varied as the DigitalTransgenderArchive, Wikipedia, and the PBS Map of Gender Diverse Cultures. These show proof that the normalcy of Humanity’s gender spectrum is wide and deep – it spans millennia and includes over 60 respected terms for our Trans, GNB and Alphabet Family members.

I love that the International Transgender Day of Visibility occurs in March, right after Black History Month. It seems like the perfect reminder that in traditional African cultures – before colonisation and enslavement – gender diversity was accepted and appreciated. Just as western science has identified numerous gender-fluid animal species, even now in Botswana there are nearly a half dozen transgender Lionesses (Lionexxes?) with masculine manes and behaviour contributing to the safety and success of their pride. Our African Ancestors knew. Our Ancestors: Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islanders, and European all knew. 

Today, violence against Trans and GNB people is still far too common. I hope we begin seeing such violence as disrespect for our Ancestors and heritage. To me acceptance of Transgender, Gender Non-Binary, and the entire LGBTQIA+, Alphabet Family becomes an act of beautiful rebellion, healing, and cultural reclamation. It honours our past and makes us safer and freer.

It also means that the TDOV is for hailing veteran leaders and groundbreakers like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and elder Miss Major Griffin-Gracy of New York City’s Stonewall Uprising; the iconic Mothers of Ballroom; and the Transgriot – Historian Monica Roberts who founded the blog Transgriot

TDOV is also for cheering on newer Trans, GNB Leaders, Activists and Advocates. They create nurturing spaces for our progress as an inclusive society that returns to the Human value of cherishing our rich gender diversity. 

The Transgender Day of Visibility is all the richer for leaders like:

 Jevon Martin, Executive Director / Founder of Princess Jenae Place, which offers housing and healthcare in NYC.

Jonathan Thunderword, the Multifaith, Omni-Spiritual Leader, and author of “From Christendom to Freedom, Journey-Making with a Black Transgender Elder”.

 The team of Carter Brown and his wife Esperanza Brown of Texas, who founded the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition and the annual gathering/national conference/Fam reunion called BTAC.

 And, YouTube icon Ms. Diamond Stylz who serves as the Executive Director of Black TransWomen, Inc. Ms. Stylz also hosts the unapologetic podcast, Marsha’s Plate with friends Mia Mix and Zahir. There are many leaders to hear from and her Archive of unfiltered conversations gives you a great place to start. 

Celebrate the annual International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31st! Celebrate that Humanity is a more fascinating and beautifully complex species than many realized – and that we are returning to that understanding.

Auset O’Neal

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