Charlotte Pride celebrates Transgender Day of Visibility

cltpride-transgenderprideToday, March 31, 2015, is International Transgender Day of Visibility.

The day was started in 2009 by a Michigan-based transgender activist Rachel Crandall. According to Between The Lines, Crandall wanted a day of awareness that celebrated transgender people.

“I went on Facebook and I was thinking…whenever I hear about our community, it seems to be from Remembrance Day which is always so negative because it’s about people who were killed,” Crandall told the Michigan LGBT newspaper in 2009. “So one night I couldn’t sleep and I decided why don’t I try to do something about that.”

Years later, the event is celebrated around the globe — in online communities like Facebook and in local activities planned by trans-inclusive organizations.

On Friday, March 27, Charlotte Pride worked with Genderlines, Charlotte’s local transgender support group, to present our Trans Pride LGBT Mixer. It’s the first in a series of events designed to create awareness of the local transgender community, educate broadly on transgender issues and assist in leadership development initiatives for transgender community leaders.

Upwards of 50 people attended the Trans Pride LGBT Mixer, including a great many trans community allies. Several organizations also lent their support, with leaders present from Charlotte Black Gay Pride, Prism, the Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee, Equality North Carolina, Human Rights Campaign, Campus Pride, Charlotte Business Guild and others.

The event also took on a somber moment, as Genderlines founder Paige Dula spoke briefly on the community’s loss of Blake Brockington, a transgender teen activist who passed away on March 23. A moment of silence was held in his honor, and it was announced that a short documentary on Blake, “brocKINGton,” will be screened during the upcoming GayCharlotte Film Festival, April 23-26. (Stay tuned for more information on the festival and Blake’s documentary screening; visit charlottelgbtfilm.com for the current film screening line up.)

Campus Pride's Finn Barton and Davidson College's Harlan Weaver.

Campus Pride’s Finn Barton and Davidson College’s Harlan Weaver.

UNC-Charlotte's Joshua Burford and local writer and 2014 Charlotte Pride Festival Co-emcee Joanne Spataro.

UNC-Charlotte’s Joshua Burford and local writer and 2014 Charlotte Pride Festival Co-emcee Joanne Spataro.

Charlotte Pride's Marshall Varner and Genderlines' Paige Dula.

Charlotte Pride’s Marshall Varner and Genderlines’ Paige Dula.