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Trans Week of Visibility

Updated: Apr 9, 2021

Imagen de Drew Angerer — Getty Images

Trans Day of Visibility

This observance came to be thanks to activist Rachel Crandall, who co-founded in 1997 the American organization Transgender Michigan. In 2009, she set this date as a day to reflect and highlight how diverse trans people can be.

People in the trans community face many types of violence because of their identity. According to the National Registry of Violent Acts against LGBTIQ+ People, one hate crime against trans people happened every 15 days during 2019. Almost half of them were perpetrated in public settings by attackers who did not know their victims.

Crandall's goal was to create an actual celebration for the community. Before she proposed it, the only trans-specific observance was the International Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20th), which is a day to remember those killed in hate crimes. In her own words: “A lot of us were so lonely, isolated. And we wanted a way to make it okay to be trans!”.

Trans activism history: Sylvia Rivera’s legacy

Sylvia Rivera was born on July 2nd 1951, in New York. She was a loud activist for LGBTIA+ rights in her country: she fought in the Stonewall riots, she was part of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and, alongside Marsha P. Johnson, she founded the STAR shelter (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries).

In the 70s, with the support of the GLF, Sylvia and Marsha got hold of a four-room apartment in East Village (NY) where they took in gay and trans people who had been kicked out by their families and were made homeless. To be able to pay for that place, they both worked as sex workers.

Additionally, STAR was used as a platform for activism. Sylvia, who was of Venezuelan and Puerto Rican descent herself, connected the organization with other civil rights movements such as the Black Panthers and the Young Lords from Puerto Rico.

The shelter remained open as such for barely a year. Rivera was homeless for a long time but still fully dedicated her last years to political activism and she managed to reactivate STAR.

In the words of activist Riki Wilchins: “In many ways, Sylvia was the Rosa Parks of the modern transgender movement, a term that was not even coined until two decades after Stonewall.”

Activism in Argentina: 100% Diversidad y Derechos

In Argentina, making the gender identity law a reality was a hard-fought battle which took many, many years. One of the organizations advocating for this huge legal milestone was 100% Diversidad y Derechos.

100% Diversidad y Derechos is an Argentine non-profit organization which advocates for equal rights and respect for all LGBTI+ people, to ensure their full enjoyment of civil, economic and cultural rights, their participation in politics and their freedom of expression in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity from an intersectional viewpoint.

Additionally, they have developed their very own School on Diversity and Rights with the goal of providing resources to anyone who wishes to increase their awareness of sexual diversity from a human rights perspective in all life settings.

This organization has been active for over 10 years: they fought for the Argentine Equal Marriage (2010) and Gender Identity (2012) Acts through legal action and political and cultural efforts. They also promoted the approval of Decree 1006/2012, which legally recognised the filial relationship between kids born before equal marriage laws and their two mothers.

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