This #TDOV (trans day of visibility) let’s not forget that visibility can actually be lethal for many. Indeed, visibility for some is often contingent on erasure for others.

Many Black, indigenous, and other people of color who are trans and gender non-conforming may not have access to the resources and safety to “visibly” express our genders. When we do we often put our bodies on the line for even more familial, state, and interpersonal violence. Folks who are in detention centers, prisons, and /or living under occupation are often unable to be “visible” in their genders. Folks who are working class, surviving on the streets, navigating the foster care system, the shelter system, houselessness, may not be able to be visible in their genders. People with disabilities who rely on caretakers and families may not be able to be visible in their genders. Young people who are confined to their homes and are constantly regulated by their families may not be able to be visible in their genders.

We should never create hierarchies where we celebrate “visible” trans people over others. Instead of blaming people for not being visible, let’s dismantle the systems that prevent the majority of the world from accessing gender self-determination. Instead of shaming people for not being “out,” let’s trust people that they know what they need to do to keep safe. Instead of valorizing one type of trans visibility, let’s challenge the standards of visibility themselves (which are defined by white supremacy, capitalism, ableism, and colonialism). Let’s respect each person’s self-identification, regardless of what they look like to us. Let’s uplift the folks whose visibility does not align with conventional cis and white binary beauty norms. Let’s uplift the gender non-conforming folks who are constantly erased not just by cis people, but also by trans movements themselves.

You do not have to be “visible,” to be trans. All genders are valid, whether they are conventionally “visible” or not. 

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