Mark March 31st on your calendar: it is the International Transgender Day of Visibility. This date has been chosen to celebrate the transgender and transsexual communities, and the communities which refuse to be labelled with pre-established gender stereotypes. It is an essential day, because not only does it celebrate diversity and the rights of trans […]
Mark March 31st on your calendar: it is the International Transgender Day of Visibility. This date has been chosen to celebrate the transgender and transsexual communities, and the communities which refuse to be labelled with pre-established gender stereotypes.
It is an essential day, because not only does it celebrate diversity and the rights of trans people: it also helps to raise awareness against the discrimination that these people have faced, and still face, all around the world.
It is a day of celebration but one should remember why this day exists and most importantly, why it is so necessary. And Axel Hotels wants to help you all to understand it.
Why March 31?
In 2009, a transgender activist from Michigan, Rachel Crandall, realized that none of the dates dedicated to LGBTIQ+ communities were about trans visibility. Rachel Crandall decided to push for a commemorative day to be established on the issue, and chose March 31.
Until then, the only known celebration dedicated to the trans community was the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, celebrated in memory of trans people victims of hate crime. There was no visibility around the live members of the trans community, nor was there any recognition of their diversity.
The importance of the Transgender Day of Visibility
Now that we know when it is celebrated, let us remind ourselves of why a day was established for transgender people to make themselves heard.
On March 15, 2019, the Spanish National Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals (FELGTB) published the results of a study which showed that 42 % of the transgender people questioned had faced threats or suffered from some form of psychological abuse in 2018.
The numbers are worrying, and show the day-to-day life of transgender people: 70 % of those questioned were verbally abused within that period of time, 31 % were bullied, and 42 % were barred from accessing the labour market.
Those numbers show that society today still suffers from transphobia (hate, rejection, discrimination, fear of transgender people) which extends to almost all areas: personal life, working life, health and safety, law, education, and so on.
These societal attitudes towards transgender people show the need to make progress as regards legislative and administrative issues. These attitudes still lead people to believe that transgender people are “sick”, even though the World Health Organization excluded transsexualism from its list of mental illnesses in 2018.
Current legislation and gender self-determination
To understand this point, it is necessary to define gender identity. Gender identity corresponds to one’s perception of one’s gender, which may or not correspond to one’s biological characteristics at birth.
The European Parliament recently adopted a resolution whereby Member States were invited to include in their national legislation the legal recognition of gender based on gender self-determination. This means that Member States should pass legislation which respects, and defends, gender identity based on each person’s perception of themselves.
It has been noted on many occasions that various groups commemorate the Transgender Day of Visibility on March 15. Why is that? March 15 is the day on which was passed law 3/2007 concerning name change and reference to gender for transsexual people.
This law was ground breaking when it was passed, but was passed in response to a given period of time and a given context, and is nowadays insufficient. In order for a gender change to be put on the registry, this law requires to have been medically diagnosed with gender dysphoria, to have received two years of hormonal therapy, to be a Spanish citizen and to be of legal age.
This excludes a large part of the trans community. The right of trans under-age people and trans migrants to have identification papers corresponding to their gender identity is not recognized. This law also requires a “gender dysphoria” diagnosis – a certified medical and psychological diagnosis of an illness which does not exist according to the WHO. All this combined with two years of medical treatment to which many people do not have access.
What to we demand on the Transgender Day of Visibility?
What lies at the heart of the whole trans community is to change, and update, law 3/2007, in order to change and make more accessible the legal procedures to change gender on the registry.
The general transphobic attitudes in the educational and health and safety fields an in the labour market also require to find means of giving rights to trans people in those fields.
Diversity is one of the human characteristics, and diversity enriches us as a society. Much work still needs to be done, but with determination and motivation, we will make progress and go forward as a society, for sure.