For Trans People, What Comes After Visibility?
This year’s Transgender Day of Visibility rally was a chance for trans people to affirm their existence — and to consider how we can go beyond merely being seen.
New York City, NY — by Alex Tey
This story was originally published on New York University’s Washington Square News.
Transgender Day of Visibility, celebrated annually on the last day of March, is a complicated day for me. I often feel like I’d prefer to be invisible.
This year, though, I decided to go attend a Trans Day of Visibility demonstration and reckon with my doubts later. I followed the crowd of protesters as they marched from Union Square down University Place and into Washington Square Park.
Seeing a thousand people like me in the street expressing joy, rage, love, defiance, exuberance — it was beautiful and powerful and all of that. But I tend to overthink things, and I got to wondering. What good is visibility anyway?
Part of me exulted in seeing and being seen by other trans people. Every trans person deserves to feel the joy of being seen as who they truly are. But another part of me felt more pessimistic — you can’t ask for much less than just being seen. “Visibility” describes an interaction that doesn’t go below the surface, and trans people deserve support that is more than superficial.
A common refrain around Trans Day of Visibility — one that I saw on several signs at the rally — maintains that visibility without protection is a trap. Being seen as trans can make you a target of violence. Vulnerability and visibility go hand in hand.
Read the rest of the story at Washington Square News.