transgender flag in the palm of the hand

On the Importance of Trans Visibility

Sharing our stories digitally for Trans Day of Visibility 2020

By Jerry Yelton (they/them he/him) | Charlotte Pride Programs & Development Director

NOTE FROM CHARLOTTE PRIDE: We are rolling out increased news and commentary coverage for our local LGBTQ community in Charlotte and the Carolinas, as part of our new online programming during the COVID-19 crisis. Charlotte Pride is committed to ensuring our community has the most up-to-date and accurate information during this time, so we are sharing and documenting the stories and experiences of our community. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and bookmark our website’s news section to get the latest updates.


In queer and trans-focused work, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the value of a story. We connect to one another through sharing the story of a hardship, of a triumph, of a moment of hate, of affirmation. We share our coming out stories – our staying in stories.

We share these stories so often with one another that sometimes we forgot how impactful they are to others and ourselves. Today, just after celebrating yesterday’s Trans Day of Visibility, I want to take a moment to remind you just how much your stories matter. This digital event was inspired by and filled with stories. Our hope was to bring light to the voices of the gorgeous faces, intersections, and identities you saw on screen amidst this crisis.

I’m not going to share my entire story today because the focus isn’t on me – but I acknowledge its importance here today. As a queer, nonbinary person, my identities have grown and shifted with language and a greater understanding of myself – from the first time I wore makeup to the first time I fell in love, from the moments when I hid my identities, to those times when I put them at the very front and center. I acknowledge the value my own story holds to myself, and to others.

Being trans comes with its share of hardships – our community is fraught with violence, discrimination, and prejudice, particularly for our black and brown siblings. It cannot be overstated the crisis that many members of our community are handling on a daily basis, but still we remain optimistic, resilient, and, above all, beautiful. I mean, look at the photos here in this post – all of these people are stunning!

Trans visibility, particularly as we work to wade our way through the uncertain waters of the COVID-19 pandemic, could be dismissed by some as unimportant. Simply – that’s furthest from the truth. Our community has weathered tumultuous outbreaks and painful heartbreaks like few others, and we’re here to show a beacon of hope: you can get through this.

Staying at home is hard for those of us who thrive through personal connection. Continuing to go to work is hard for us deemed essential during this crisis. Whether we are at home or in public, the impact we make on others is so acutely important. Through creating spaces for visibility like this digital Trans Day of Visibility this week, we are showing that we will be present on the other side of this crisis. We are showing that we will not be silenced by any force, and that we will ensure our stories are heard loud and clear.

Please remember that your stories matter, and the stories of every person in our community matter. These stories are complex, multifaceted, and intersectional – and above all, they’re beautiful. Our stories are absolutely necessary in this world, and I hope that you share yours today with someone. Or don’t. That’s up to you. But always know that your stories, loud or quiet, are celebrated here.

Digital Trans Day of Visibility 2020

We want to thank our partners Transcend Charlotte and Gender Education Network for assisting with 2020’s Trans Day of Visibility, which we transitioned to a day of digital sharing in the face of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

We also want to thank all of the beautiful faces and voices who contributed by sharing their thoughts, photos, and artwork!

We were so proud to feature each of you on our social media on Tuesday, March 31 and again here!

Amy Foster (she/her)

What does Trans Visibility mean to you?
Trans Visibility means that my daughter will always be seen and heard.

Audrey Ayers (she/her)

What does Trans Visibility mean to you?
Ultimately, Trans Visibility is a part of a fight for a better future for trans folks around the world.

Basil Whisenant (they/them)

What does Trans Visibility mean to you?
Visibility is our celebration of being out and proud. It’s our chance to educate the world that WE are what trans looks like. We’re all unique in our expression and journeys, and every one of us is just as valid and beautiful as the next.

Charlese Joyce-Ramos (she/her)

What does Trans Visibility mean to you?
Trans* Visibility means standing up and being a voice to create a positive, inclusive space for all people of different backgrounds to come together and be heard. Showing the world that we are a huge part of the world.

Clarabelle Catlin (she/they)

What does Trans Visibility mean to you?
Trans Visibility is an opportunity for trans people to be celebrated in their diversity. For me, it’s an opportunity to show others that trans people are quite common and we are here to stay.

dakota Morgan (he/him)

What does Trans Visibility mean to you?
Trans Visibility means that the community is here to help and be there for the people that have to remain in the closet. This day shows that there are community members young and old who come together!

Debra J. Hopkins (she/her)
René Couret (She/They)

What does Trans Visibility mean to you?
There’s Still Hope believes: Trans Visibility means every Trans person, especially Trans Women of Color, should be able to be seen, to express themselves, to live in their truth, and be loved just as they are. Transgender bodies are not disposable.

Jennifer Brooks (she/her)

What does Trans Visibility mean to you?
Trans Visibility means recognizing and empowering the community. We are battered, but undefeated! Survivors! Trans men and women worldwide continue to face discrimination. Some battles are won, but newer ones are coming along. It is a never-ending fight. Children are our future! There are so many who aren’t loved and accepted!

Jenny Jaymes Gunn (she/they)

What does Trans Visibility mean to you?
Being out there constantly and very proud of the edgier fashion side of me. Openly queer and being part of the BDSM community while being a political activist breaks down barriers of fear and ignorance. Love you all!

Jessie Weir (They/them)

What does Trans Visibility mean to you?
Trans Visibility is multiple different versions of transgender folks being shown in different types of media from paintings to silver screens, from live dancers, to pottery makers. I want to see what it looks like when trans people thrive.

Noah Slagter (he/him)

What does Trans Visibility mean to you?
Trans Visibility is feeling seen by friends and family and being accepted and respected. Being an activist for other trans youth who may not be able to speak up for themselves.

Olivia Buckoski (she/her)

What does Trans Visibility mean to you?
Being proud that I am trans and that I am not scared.

Olivia Jenks (she/her)

What does Trans Visibility mean to you?
Trans Visibility means remembering all those people before me and how I enjoy the benefits of their sacrifice.

Roman Lassiter (he/they)

What does Trans Visibility mean to you?
Trans Visibility means being able to see that not only am I not alone, but that there is nothing wrong with being who I am.

India Kinard (she/her)

As an ally, what does Trans Visibility mean to you?
A few of my dearest, closest friends are trans, so as a pansexual, cisgender woman, it means everything to me that they are loved, cared for, respected and accepted by everyone inside and outside the LGBTQ community.

Andrea Downs (she/her)

As an ally, what does Trans Visibility mean to you?
Trans Visibility means that every person has the right to be seen, loved, understood, celebrated, and heard.


ABOUT THE WRITER

Jerry Yelton (they/them he/him) is the programs and development director of Charlotte Pride, where they have worked since 2017. Jerry graduated in 2016 from Appalachian State University with a B.S. in Communication Studies and is a passionate advocate for intentional, intersectional community organizing and development.


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