( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility and the Organizations Supporting Transgender Youth
ENSPIRE Contributor: Daniel Garritson
Today, March 31st marks “Transgender Day of Visibility,” a time to celebrate transgender people and their contributions, and to also educate the public about the issues and discrimination the community continues to face. The “Transgender Day of Visibility” was first created by transgender activist Rachell Crandall in 2009. Prior to this day’s rise in prominence, the only day recognizing transgender individuals was the “Transgender Day of Remembrance”, which honored those who had lost their lives to hate. The day of visibility recognizes living transgender individuals and their accomplishments.
In solidarity with this global awareness day, Planned Parenthood of Illinois advocates on behalf of transgender people and provides high-quality health care that all people need and deserve.
ENSPIRE had the opportunity to collaborate with Mallory Klocke, the Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy Program Director at Planned Parenthood of Illinois.
Tell us about the significance of Transgender Day of Visibility.
Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) is celebrated every March 31. Trans activist Rachel Crandall created it to celebrate the lives and stories of trans people, which has a rippling effect. According to polls, those who have watched or been exposed to trans people in the media have become “more accepting” of non-binary people and are more likely to believe in equal rights for the LGBTQ community than those who have not seen trans people in the media. This day is about recognizing our humanity and shining a light on the trans experience, which is beautiful and diverse.
Transgender people continue to be stigmatized in our society, leading to adverse outcomes affecting physical, mental, and behavioral health. TDOV is about celebrating the trans joy that continues despite this stigma. More recently, trans people have risen to more visible roles and are celebrated in the arts, activism, politics, and business arenas. The trans community is a
mosaic of beauty, power, and resistance. While TDOV is just one day, Planned Parenthood of Illinois strives every day to provide gender-affirming care in a non-judgmental and supportive environment.
How are trans women of color particularly at risk from a health and safety standpoint?
Transwomen of color, in particular, face marginalization on multiple levels as they navigate a world where racism, misogyny, and transphobia are still very much alive. Their joy and existence are perceived as the biggest threat, and so they are often the most policed and targeted people within the trans community.
Trans women face multiple barriers to accessing healthcare, because of stigmatization, fearing medical bias, being uninsured, and living in poverty, all of which perpetuate health disparities. The epidemic of violence against Black trans women continues to persist, as a majority of transgender people who were fatally shot or killed in recent years were Black or Latinx.
It’s extremely important to note that over 300 anti-LGBTQ bills have been filed as of 2023, with over 150 bills specifically targeting trans people, according to GLAAD. The more exposure trans voices get in the media, the higher the likelihood the general public will push back against anti-trans politicians and bills in the voting booths. More trans voices also mean more trans folks will feel safer living their authentic lives. Awareness days like these are so
important to raise a spotlight on the issues that affect the trans community to hopefully effectuate social and political change.
Tell us about the services that Planned Parenthood of Illinois offers to the transgender community.
Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) is one of the largest providers of gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) to transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive individuals in Central Illinois. We offer care at all of our health centers and through telehealth.
In addition to providing care for Illinois residents, PPIL also offers GAHT care to people with limited ability to receive care in their home state or in their home country. We’ve also been serving people from surrounding states like Indiana for years because the state makes it difficult to access and afford care.
As we celebrate the lives of transgender people in efforts to build a more inclusive and loving society, we’re committed to providing equitable access to reproductive healthcare services including STI testing, HIV services, sexual health information, and more.
How is your organization supporting transgender youth?
Trans people are an oppressed group, and trans youth face intersecting levels of oppression. Many don’t have the legal ability to determine this part of their healthcare. However, we believe that young people deserve bodily autonomy. PPIL is especially dedicated to supporting transgender youth, as evidence shows that they are susceptible to discrimination and stigma which puts them at higher risk for suicide and poor mental health, substance abuse, riskier
sexual behaviors, and other health risks. We provide GAHT care to individuals 16 and up, and it goes beyond just hormone therapy. We’re committed to compassionate gender-affirming care and we’re steadfast in safeguarding their healthcare rights.
Now more than ever, “Trans Day of Visibility” is a necessity. As transgender people become more commonly seen in the news and in media, a day celebrating and recognizing their accomplishments and humanity only becomes more valuable. This increased visibility can sometimes lead to increased tension, but with organizations like Planned Parenthood supporting transgender people, the future looks bright.