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Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility. Here’s what you should know

Today, transgender and nonbinary people around the world will recognize International Transgender Day of Visibility. With transgender visibility in the US at an all-time high in politics, media and sports, today is a day for allies and advocates to show up and show support.

Here’s what you should know.

How did it start?

Transgender Day of Visibility (or TDOV) was founded in 2009 by Rachel Crandall, a Michigan-based transgender activist and the Executive Director of Transgender Michigan. It was started as a day of awareness to celebrate the successes of transgender and gender-nonconforming people and is an important day for the LGBTQ community.

While the Transgender Day of Remembrance (or TDOR) is held every year on November 20 to memorialize the transgender people who have lost their lives as a result of anti-transgender violence, TDOV is a day dedicated to honor and empower the lives of transgender and nonbinary people.

The day is honored annually on March 31.

The importance of transgender representation

Today illustrates the importance of transgender representation worldwide, especially as transgender and gender-nonconforming people face risks every day. According to a recent Gallup poll, 11.3 percent of LGBT adults identify as transgender, yet when it comes to representation in the media, there are only 29 transgender characters across prime-time broadcast, cable, and streaming originals, according to media advocacy organization GLAAD. For the third year in a row, GLAAD’s Studio Responsibility Index also reported no transgender characters in a major movie.

Here’s why it matters: Recent polls show that one-quarter of people in the US say they personally know someone who is transgender, meaning that the majority of Americans learn about the transgender community from what they see in entertainment media. Because of this, GLAAD says, it is imperative that entertainment media gets it right when talking about transgender stories.

How to be a good ally

Here are a few ways to support the transgender community today:

Seek out stories by transgender creators. Seek out authentic stories and media that have been created by the transgender community, such as the Transgender Film Center, a non-profit organization that supports transgender filmmakers and their projects.

Call your local LGBTQ center. See what kind of help they need, whether it be volunteering or offering a service that you’re good at.

Educate yourself. Allies can start by learning the basic terminology surrounding the transgender community. For example, people often confuse sexual orientation and gender identity. There are many places online that share tips on how to be a good ally.

Many transgender people are happy to discuss their experience, but allies shouldn’t always assume that’s the case. There are so many resources out there to help you if you want to learn more about the community and how to be supportive.

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