Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) celebrates the accomplishments of trans people around the globe by spreading knowledge of the trans community in a positive light. Unlike the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), which is commemorated annually in November, this is not a day for mourning. It is one of empowerment and getting the recognition that the trans community deserves.
OPSEU President Warren “Smokey” Thomas worries that the current state of political affairs continues to be transphobic and perpetuates feelings of fear and division. Social networks in our communities are supposed to protect the most vulnerable. Sadly, it is having an opposite effect, said Thomas.
“Repealing a modernized sex-ed curriculum showed how out of touch the Ford government is with reality” said Thomas. “A curriculum that focused on gender identity and gender expression would have been so important especially when many children today are vulnerable to many forms of bullying.”
Trans people continue to face many challenges compared to what other members of the TBLGIAPQQ2S (trans, bisexual, lesbian, gay, intersex, asexual, pansexual, queer, questioning, two spirited) community may experience. They continue to be subjected to discrimination and violence at staggering levels, and for most of colonial history, the state has not been on the right side of this fight. For instance, working class gays and lesbians in the union movement have been fighting for change since the earliest days of union organizing. Without the engagement and investment of unions in this struggle for equality, it is doubtful that the trans community would be where it is today.
“There are few organizations that fight for inclusion like OPSEU. As a person who transitioned in a very public way, I could not have succeeded without my union. OPSEU was ready to create a space for me, and ready to fight for my rights in my workplace” said Morgen Veres, Co-Chair of OPSEU’s Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel.
This year’s theme is Celebrating Authentic Bodies (Breaking Barriers). Inclusion is more than just a touchstone in today’s society or even a best practice or vague aspirational goal. In an increasingly divided and polarized world, inclusion and a respect for diversity ensures that organizations and communities alike bring forward the best that its people have to offer. The trans community has learned to use this type of visibility to mobilize against oppression. Speaking out, taking direct action, and educating others is critical to their safety and well-being. Nevertheless, visibility alone is not enough to bring about transgender liberation. The ongoing struggles and violence experienced by transgender people demand continued advocacy and organizing from TBLGIAPQQ2S communities and their allies. The trans community should be free to share their stories and experiences in a way that is safe, respectful and with dignity.
“For many, this alone could be the difference between justice and despair. I know that as a Co-Chair of the Rainbow Alliance arc en ciel, I can count on my union family to help continue this fight” said Veres.
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