Also called TDOV, the International Transgender Day of Visibility is celebrated every year on March 31. The International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual awareness day dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of transgender and gender-nonconforming people. It is observed all over the world.
The day also aims to raise awareness of the work that still needs to be done to achieve justice for transgender people. The day celebrates the resilience and accomplishments of the transgender community while also raising awareness about the daily systemic struggles they face.
The History of the International Transgender Day of Visibility
It was first celebrated in 2009, by Rachel Crandall in Michigan, USA, as a reaction to the lack of LGBT recognition of transgender people. The frustration was that the only famous transgender-centered day was “Transgender Day of Remembrance,” which was all about the grief and mourning around the murders of transgender people. The very first International Transgender Day of Visibility was celebrated on March 31, 2009.
Some significant highlights for the transgender community in 2021
‘Mitr Clinic’, India’s first-ever clinic that is exclusively for the transgender community and run by them. Started by ‘Safe Zindagi’ and working with the help of “Program Accelerate” and the National AIDS Control Organisation of India, the main aim of establishing ‘Mitr Clinic’ is to address the healthcare system’s failure and offer basic but inclusive services to the Indian transgender community.
The transgender community suffers a lot of trauma and discrimination as most medical professionals are not sensitive enough or equipped to handle transgender community issues. Thus, the transgender community is either deprived of essential treatments or denied treatment altogether.
Currently, the Mitr Clinic is set up in three different cities, Hyderabad, Thane, and Pune. They hope to raise awareness about transgender health needs and ensure the infrastructure is inclusive in every way possible.
In a press release in 2021, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment announced that they were planning to set up safe and secure shelter homes to accommodate transgender people in need. This was to be implemented across the country, and at the moment, there are currently 12 shelter homes set up “on a pilot basis.”
The sole purpose of these homes is to provide shelter to people from the transgender community who need it. It would also extend basic facilities such as food, healthcare, and recreational facilities. Apart from the ‘Garima Greh’ initiative, the ministry also plans to offer monetary assistance to community-based organisations (CBOs) to further establish homes for transgender people.
In December last year, the Madras High Court had directed the government to extend the ‘Garima Greh’ scheme to all individuals that belong to the LGBTQIA+ community, as all members experience discrimination and transgenders are only a fraction of the whole community.
Apart from these, the other wins have been from the various state police departments, including Karnataka State Police, Odisha Police, and Chhattisgarh Constable Recruitment, which have opened the door to recruiting transgender individuals into various posts.
There were actual wins in politics and also a lot more participation in comparison to earlier years. Ganga Nayak, 49, was fielded by Tamil Nadu’s ruling party, DMK. She was declared the winner in ward 37 of the Vellore Municipal Corporation. And participation from Radhika Bai from Agra Cantt, M. Radha, a transgender candidate from Mylapore in the Tamil Nadu elections and many more are commendable.
There are much-needed conversations and protests around the need for horizontal reservations for transgender people. There are also conversations around the specific challenges faced by young transgender people in terms of support for ‘gender transition’, employment, partner violence, education, and financial stability.
We hope these conversations get louder and have an impact on actual policies and infrastructural changes for the betterment of the transgender community in India. And bring forward the struggle behind the achievements that are being highlighted