I am always in constant debate about being out, being public. It is in the moments of ignorance that the debate ends. It is when the ignorant old white woman talks about masculinity as if it is what makes a man, that I realize the importance of being visible.
Because for a lot of us visibility is an option, not something that has been thrust upon us. A lot of us are faced with the decision of whether to reveal our identity or not. While some beleive it to be a privilege (it usually is), that is not always the case. There are times when I want to be more visible than ever, but can’t without blatantly stating my identity. Which is why the choice of visibility is so crucial.
You have to be visible for those that don’t have the choice. For those that can’t leave their house without being labeled as every identity imaginable, by complete strangers. For those that get nasty comments while you stand right next to them undetected by the transgender radar that all cis people seem to have. You have to be visible for those that can’t.
For those whose equivalent of coming out is losing their life. For the economically unstable that can’t afford being cut off by their coming out. For those whose situations are unimaginable and results in suppression. If you are like me and have been privileged beyond belief, then you owe it to the ones who aren’t.
More than owing it to others, visibility is a power beyond others. To be visible is to change minds and shape beliefs. People have it in their head that they can identify trans people. That when a trans person walks by, they will be able to know their identity and life story.
But to be visible and the last person that someone would think is trans, is a powerful tool. One which can help with the formation of small minded views. That is perhaps the greatest weapon of the trans community. Because most existing thoughts have been built on misconception and exaggerated stereotypes.
So to be visible and devoid of stereotypes is to be a powerful tool in the way that people form opinions. Which is why trans day of visibility is so much more than a social media opportunity because visibility is a powerful force in the face of suppression.
Be visible for the suppressed and suppressors.