Trans Day of Visibility: We're Speaking Out For Our Rights

Lambda Legal/YouTube

In this op-ed, trans youth and adults #SpeakOut for trans day of visibility as part of Lambda Legal's campaign to elevate trans and nonbinary voices.

As youth and adults who are transgender and nonbinary, Trans Day of Visibility is profoundly significant to us, and this year, it comes at a particularly challenging time for our community.

It's a day that transcends visibility; it's a celebration of community, resiliency, and the profound power of being seen for who we truly are. It’s a day when all of our voices deserve to be heard. Unfortunately, our voices are often silenced or marginalized. We are told our identities are not valid, or that we're not allowed to be ourselves. And in the news and social media, there is so much misinformation and negativity about us and our community.

We want the world to see us for who we truly are and to understand that trans and nonbinary people are humans, just like anyone else. At a minimum, we deserve respect and dignity.

We want to reclaim our narratives and #SpeakOUT against the injustices other trans and nonbinary people youth like us are struggling with. We are making ourselves visible by amplifying our voices on social media and joining lawsuits with organizations like Lambda Legal to push back against the attacks on our communities.

While the narratives about us are largely about the attacks against us, the reality is that we’re just like anyone else, trying to live our lives in a way that is best for us. We laugh, we cry, we go shopping. We have families, we have friends, and we have pets. We are writers, we are scientists, we are artists. We are someone's children, we are someone's siblings, we are someone’s partner. Like any other human being, we matter.

Every day, we wake up to more news about more bills and policies targeting our lives: attempting to block us from getting the medical care we need, from participating in school activities, in sports, and even from using the bathroom. This anti-LGBTQ+ legislation saddens us and makes us feel hopeless and dehumanized. Being seen as less than others hurts so much.

From facing discrimination and bullying to navigating societal prejudices and even violence, the journey towards visibility is often fraught with obstacles. Despite these challenges, we persist, driven by the belief that every individual deserves to live authentically and be accepted.

This Trans Day of Visibility comes in the midst of heartbreak following the tragic death of teenager Nex Benedict. This tragedy touched us very deeply and personally. We too have faced bullying at school and online and have seen so many of our trans and nonbinary siblings struggle with harassment and violence.

We don't want to hide, we just want to be ourselves. We want to be welcomed as who we are and who we want to be. We, better than anyone else, understand who we are, our bodies, and what we want in this world.

Everyone deserves to be visible, to be seen, to be loved, to be proud, and to thrive. We just ask you to allow us to be ourselves, to be happy, to grow up in peace, and to be free. It’s a basic right, and the least we can do for each other.

To trans youth, we want to say you are loved, you are beautiful, you are worthy, and everything is going to be ok. We have each other, we support each other, and there is a big community out there that embraces, welcomes, and even loves you. You are not alone and your journey is valid and deserving of respect and support.

Embrace your truth, for it is our greatest source of strength. We love you.

Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue