What is this day, why does it exist, and how does one celebrate it? I’m glad you asked!
This day (often shortened to TDoV) celebrates trans, nonbinary, agender, and gender expansive people worldwide exactly as they are as well as raises awareness of the discrimination faced by trans** people worldwide. Started in 2009, this holiday was founded by transgender activist Rachel Crandall as a result of being frustrated that the only transgender focused holiday was Transgender Day of Remembrance which focuses on lives that have been lost as a result of transphobia. We needed a day to be able to express joy of being our true selves.
**I’ll be using trans as an umbrella term from here on in to cover all genders mentioned above.
So we’ve answered the what, let’s expand on the why.
One might not know how many trans people they come in contact with on a regular basis. It feels silly to say out loud, but trans people are humans too. We go to work, use bathrooms, and participate in society like anyone else. Our very existence seems to haunt some people, though. In just the first two months of 2023, over 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been filed in the United States alone, surpassing 2022’s record of 315 throughout the year. That’s absolutely staggering.
A local person who wishes to remain anonymous shared this with me: It often feels like I’m fighting daily to just be recognized as the man I am. Customers are repeatedly calling me “ma’am” and “she” even with consistent corrections to the regulars from myself and immediate coworkers. A few people are saying it on purpose at this point, I feel certain. Why? I don’t know. It doesn’t hurt them at all to say ‘”sir” or ‘”he” in reference to me but it does hurt me every time someone gets it wrong. Am I not enough? I had less difficultly with changing my name at the social security office and the DMV, both notoriously challenging government entities, than I have had with some of my supervisors to use my new name and updated pronouns. I didn’t get ostracized by random people when I got glasses as my eyesight weakened yet I get physically blocked from going to use a men’s restroom because I don’t look like a man to some people. I don’t have to tell my boss what medications I take for depression/anxiety yet I’ve known a boss to ask whether a friend in a similar position had plans to start taking hormones for their transition. It’s ridiculous how many extra hoops are added to almost everything for trans people to just exist in society. I know I’m not alone with these struggles, but they’re very real.
Alright, we acknowledge the discrimination and difficulties that trans people face in our society. What’s next? Celebration! Biden was the first U.S. President to officially recognize TDoV in 2021. Here’s his proclamation from 2022, and hopefully he’ll continue the trend of recognizing the contributions of trans people to our society.
Here at Richmond Public Library we believe in building a collection of materials that represents everyone. We feel that it is through books that we should both see ourselves as well as learn about others. We want to be inclusive of all communities and will continue to work hard to do so. Below you will find a list of trans memoirs my coworker Jenn put together as well as a list of fiction depicting trans characters my coworker Meg put together. Please check out these titles at your local RPL branch or online using hoopla or Libby by Overdrive.
Final take away: love and accept your fellow humans for the person they tell you they are. It’s really that simple.
Before I Had the Words by Skylar Kergil
He Said, She Said: Lessons, Stories, and Mistakes from My Transgender Journey by Gigi Gorgeous
Both Sides of the Fire Line: Memoir of a Transgender Firefighter by Bobbie Scopa
Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter? by Heath Fogg Davis
Stuck in the Middle With You: Parenthood in Three Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan
Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan E. Coyote
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me by Janet Mock
People Change by Vivek Shraya
Sorted: Growing Up, Coming Out, and Finding My Place by Jackson Bird
Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
The Wrong End of the Telescope by Rabih Alameddine
The Bennet Women by Eden Appiah-Kubi
Nevada by Imogen Binnie
Rainbow Rainbow: Stories by Lydia Conklin
Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson
Wrath Goddess Sing by Maya Deane
Crosshairs by Catherine Hernandez