It's undeniable: we're at a crucial moment for trans rights and visibility right now. Trans icons like Laverne Cox and Janet Mock are everywhere; television producers are casting trans actors in trans roles; there are trans rock stars, like Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!, and movements are building to fight discrimination that would have gone all but unnoticed a decade ago. But, there is still a long way to go. Since its start in 2009, the annual Trans Day of Visibility has become one way members of the trans community and their allies make the struggle for safety, support, acceptance, and equality a lot more personal. People of all ages and locations on the gender spectrum sent messages to #transdayofvisibility, all of them in the hopes of making it safe for more trans people to come out without fear.
Five years ago, Vice President Joe Biden called the fight for trans rights "the civil rights issue of our time." Today, the White House held its first ever briefing on trans women of color. Trans women of color are still disproportionately at risk for discrimination, violence, and being targeted by law enforcement.
And, while greater visibility for gay, lesbian, and queer communities has been linked to the massive change in popular opinion toward same-sex marriage, being out and trans still carries serious risks. The statistics tell the story: 41% of trans people say they have attempted suicide. A 2009 survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that 97% of trans people reported being harassed at work, and trans people are twice as likely to experience unemployment as cis people.
For more stories about the lives and rights of transgender Americans, check out our Trans America series here.