Wednesday, March 31, marks International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) 2021. It’s a chance to celebrate the transgender community, to show support for and solidarity with them and to raise awareness of the discrimination and challenges they face, including elevated rates of HIV/AIDS.
A quick search on social media for the hashtags #TransDayofVisibility and #TDOV2021 shows countless events, articles and messages, including posts from transgender, gender-nonconforming and nonbinary (TGNCNB ) people showing pictures of themselves, proud to take up space in the world.
To celebrate #TransDayofVisibility, join us for an Instagram Live conversation with @gottmik on 3/31 at 3pm ET/12pm PT on how we can all support the mental health of transgender and nonbinary youth ????????????— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) March 30, 2021
Follow @trevorproject on Instagram to be notified when we go live ???? #TDOV pic.twitter.com/WMZDQUIw7C
Just one example (and others are embedded throughout this article): RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Gottmik joins LGBTQ suicide prevention group The Trevor Project for a live conversation at 3pm EST, March 31, viewable on the organization’s Instagram account @TrevorProject.
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But for one of the most unique and uplifting messages you’ll find this #TDOV 2021, watch a short video titled “The Mirror.” It’s at the top of this article as well as on YouTube. Produced by the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), the video promotes the #SeeMeAsIAm campaign and hopes to start conversations among families about breaking the taboo of gender diversity among children.
The heartwarming video was filmed during COVID-19 and is set during the Indian Kite festival. Its message, producer Swati Bhattacharya tells UNAIDS, is “we have to accept children as they are and, in this case, build up their confidence.” In the UNAIDS article, “(Wo)man in the Mirror: Seeing Your True Self,” Bhattacharya notes that 98% of transgender people in India leave their homes or are thrown out. As a result, many of them don’t have an education or money and end up living on the street and relying on sex work. To counter these statistics, she said, parents must see their children as who they really are and how they want to be in the world.
No child should suffer because of who they are.— United Nations (@UN) March 31, 2021
All children deserve love, protection & equal rights, including the right to an education free of discrimination & bullying.
On #TransDayOfVisibility, join @UNAIDS in calling for the rights of transgender children to be protected. pic.twitter.com/nKOEyoqy2s
For more global perspectives on transgender news, see the UNAIDS articles “Fighting Transphobia and Violence One Social Media Post at a Time,” “Transgender Communities in Asia and the Pacific Respond to COVID-19 Through Activism” and “Solidarity Fund Helping Transgender People During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Regarding HIV rates among transgender people in the United States, a POZ Basics section explains:
Transgender, gender-nonconforming and nonbinary people have a higher rate of HIV than the population as a whole. However, accurate information about how many are affected has been scarce because of a lack of research and incomplete data collection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,351 transgender people in the United States were diagnosed with HIV from 2009 to 2014. This is lower than the actual number living with HIV, as some of these have not yet been diagnosed. Estimates suggest that around 1 million Americans identify as transgender.
Among the transgender people diagnosed with HIV during that period, 1,974 (84%) were trans women, 15% (361) were trans men and 16 (1%) had another gender identity. Black trans women and young trans women had the highest diagnosis rates.
A meta-analysis from 2019 found that an estimated 14% of trans women and 3% of trans men in the United States are living with HIV. This proportion rises to 44% for Black trans women and 26% for Latina trans women and falls to 7% for white trans women. Previous estimates suggested that around 20% to 30% of U.S. trans women were HIV positive. Globally, trans women are about 49 times more likely than non-trans people to have HIV.
Many older studies incorrectly classified transgender women as “men who have sex with men.” This lack of accurate historical data makes it difficult to know whether new cases of HIV are rising among trans women or whether rates have started to come down, as they have for most other population groups. More recent research does a better job of correctly classifying trans people by using a two-step method that asks their assigned sex at birth as well as their current gender identity.
For inspiring HIV-related stories about the TGNCNB community, check out our recent January-February cover story “Black Lives Still Matter,” which features Bré Anne Rivera, who founded and directs the Black Trans Fund to help support organizations where Black queer and trans people are at the helm.
And in recent years, additional POZ cover stories have profiled poet Danez Smith in “The Power of Storytelling” and trans rapper and activist Mykki Blanco in “Mykki Blanco Finds Power in Transparency.”
The 2019 POZ 100 honored TGNCNB advocates making a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Be sure to check out the complete contents of that December issue, which includes a look at the first National Trans Visibility March.
Happy #TransDayOfVisibility! Today, we celebrate the courage and contributions of our trans and non-binary community, while also acknowledging the work that needs to be done to ensure true equality for all. #TransRightsAreHumanRights pic.twitter.com/SH7vNBew7c— Rep. Sharice Davids (@RepDavids) March 31, 2021