Transgender Day of Visibility is once again being celebration internationally on Thursday 31 March.
Originally started in 2009, Transgender Day of Visibility was created in response to the lack of queer events internationally which celebrate trans people. The dedicated day is complimentary to the Transgender Day of Remembrance which serves as a memorial to transgender victims of hate crimes.
In New Zealand, 2016 has seen a huge increase in trans activism and a call for equal rights both in legislation and in society.
“It’s a day for people to remember that there are trans people in their community and consider some of the challenges trans people experience in their lives,” says Rawa Karetai, Chairperson of Rainbow Wellington.
“Probably around one in eighty Kiwis are trans and many more are unsure about their gender identity. That’s going by the results of the University of Auckland’s nationwide survey of secondary schools.”
With more trans visibility in the media, conversations around trans awareness continue to increase. Stars such as Laverne Cox and Candis Cayne have brought trans issues to the forefront of Hollywood, and even Caitlyn Jenner (in spite of her often controversial opinions and comments) can be credited with bringing trans issues into the light where they belong.
“One of the main challenges that trans people face is healthcare. In 2006 the Human Rights Commission began an inquiry that found that trans people experience discrimination when they access health services. This discrimination affects their health and prevents them from finding the services they need. It’s ten years later and trans people are telling us that access to healthcare hasn’t improved, and if anything the situation has gone backwards” says Karetai.
“That is why [Transgender Day of Visibility] is so important. We need ordinary Kiwis to show that they really care about trans people. Only then will public agencies begin to sit up and take notice.
“So we are asking people to take five minutes out of your day to show that you care. It could be as simple as posting a message on social media with the hashtag #TransDayOfVisibility”
Although there are no publicised events happening in Auckland that express have been able to locate, consider the ways we can all contribute to transgender visibility and fight together for equal rights for all human beings in New Zealand on this and every other day.