McLean added that a lot of transphobia stems from a lack of empathy for trans people.
“I think that visibility means that we’re cared for more by not just our community… but opening up ourselves for other support.”
Trans activists and TransWay co-facilitators Kendall Stephens and Elizabeth Coffey Williams will hold a special virtual TransWay meeting to celebrate TDOV. They will begin by introducing the TRC at William Way and glean participant feedback on how they think the center can best serve trans communities.
“The way that the center has been used and who accesses it the most, it shows that we need to reach out more to BIPOC-identified folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, and further support our community and those that are further marginalized within an already marginalized community,” McLean said.
As part of their TDOV celebration, Stephens and Coffey Williams sent a call on Facebook for people of trans experience to share their stories at the meeting, “and to share how far they have come in their gender journey and express how they see themselves through that journey,” Stephens said.
At the meeting, trans activist Desmond Tyrone will shed light on “everything that [the trans community has] been through, about how we’re more accepted now than how we used to be,” he said. “Bringing attention to the people that didn’t get a chance to see this day, to remember them, to know that they didn’t get forgotten about. To show [cisgender] people… that we’re just as great as anyone else, and that we’re not going anywhere. We’re not going to be erased.”
Stephens also plans to focus on the celebratory aspect of trans people living authentically in their transness.
“[My meaning of TDOV] is being able to celebrate those individuals that live very honestly in their gender truths despite some of the societal consequences that they face,” Stephens said. “There’s a personal freedom that comes from you being brave in your visibility, putting yourself at risk knowing that the bigger risk is not being an honest manifestation of who you are.”
Philly Trans March (PTM) in conjunction with Trans Masculine Advocacy Network (TMAN) plan to hold a TDOV event on March 31 in the form of “a virtual marketplace for Trans entrepreneurs,” PTM and TMAN founder Christian A’Xavier Lovehall said in an email. According to PTM’s Facebook event page, people will also have the opportunity to discover and invest in local trans owned businesses. The event will also showcase local trans and nonbinary performers, including a live set by DJ Delish, organized by PTM member and current reigning Drag King of the Year Mx Deej Nutz.
On March 28, Garden of Peace Project, which originated in Pittsburgh and serves Black queer and trans youth, will facilitate the virtual conversation Transparent: A TDOV Conversation with Trans Masculine Folx about Our Visibility and Representation. Organizers and hosts of the event include Garden of Peace founder Michael David Battle, Mel Howard, Rashod Xavier Brown, Sasha Alexander, Vann Michael, Lovehall, and others to be announced.
The event will address how Black and Brown trans masculine people are represented in the media, film and TV, books, nonprofit leadership and other facets of life.
“I think [TDOV] is a time for reflection, a time for us to really consider what visibility and representation look like, what the dominant narratives are and what our lived experiences are really like,” Battle told PGN.
He said that describing his ideal version of transmasculinity is complicated due to “centuries of colonization, genocide, enslavement, misogyny, misogynoir, homophobia and transphobia,” he said. “It’s so wrapped up in white supremacy and oppression and [structural] violence. I think the best answer that I can give is a masculinity that allows for freedom and liberation, that allows us to challenge the ways that we are existing, providing and engaging in relationships with women and girls in our lives.”
Garden of Peace Project’s Howard told PGN that for him, “trans masculine visibility is getting up everyday no matter how you feel, no matter what that person is going through and choosing to be themselves regardless of what that looks like. There is no requirement when a person says [they’re] trans masculine. I identify as a trans masculine transgender male who is pansexual and in a committed relationship, that’s my narrative.”
Michele Zipkin is a reporter for The Philadelphia Gay News, where this story first appeared.