Showing strength: International Transgender Day of Visibility

March 31 is International Transgender Day of Visibility, which is dedicated to supporting, recognizing, and raising awareness of the rights of transgender people around the world. It is a time to raise important issues related to the transgender community and stimulate public dialog about the importance of respect and equality.

In the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region, the visibility and rights situation for transgender people remains complex and multifaceted. Laws and policies in individual countries restrict community rights, including access to health care, gender reassignment, and protection from discrimination. In 2023 alone, national REActors documented 1,109 complaints from members of the LGBTIQ community in the region. The most common violations of the rights of transgender people are discrimination, insults, harassment, threats, and, alas, often it even comes to attacks. An example happened in Armenia with a transgender girl, an activist, and an employee of a local NGO. While testing and counseling a client for HIV, she was attacked by a stranger. With the participation of REActors, it was possible to record the facts of the crime and ensure the initiation of a criminal case. Another egregious case occurred in Tajikistan – a transgender woman was detained without reason by law enforcement officials and her personal belongings were confiscated. Interrogations began. This put the victim in an extremely difficult situation. REActors were able to provide legal defense by finding a lawyer willing to take on the case and defend her rights. They were also able to raise the necessary funds for the client to leave the country safely. Thanks to their support, after two months, the case was closed and the belongings were returned.

The fight to protect the rights of transgender people in the EECA region remains relevant and important. A lot of work is still needed, but the situation is gradually changing for the better, mainly due to the active role of transgender people themselves in this process. They invest a great deal of interest in creating changes that directly affect their lives and well-being (because for the majority of authorities, who are usually people who are not uncomfortable with gender conformity, alas, these issues may seem less important or irrelevant). Local non-governmental organizations and community groups are also actively working for the benefit of transgender people in the EECA region, providing them with support, information, and protection from discrimination and violence. These efforts play an important role in raising awareness and creating a safe and supportive environment for transgender people. It is important to continue to mobilize public opinion, give support to the transgender community, and work to create laws and policies that protect their rights and dignity.

On International Transgender Day of Visibility, each of us can do something important to show our support. Here are a few ways you can do that:

1. Education and awareness: learn more about transgender issues, history, and the fight for transgender people’s rights. The more we know, the better we can support their fight for equal rights and opportunities.

2. active listening and support: listen to the stories and experiences of transgender people without judgment. Support them by expressing your support and solidarity. Have an open dialog and be willing to listen to their needs and experiences.

3.         Participate in events: take part in events to commemorate International Transgender Day of Visibility. These can be rallies, public lectures, marches, or other events to raise awareness and support for the transgender community.

4. Utilize social media: share transgender people’s stories, relevant articles, and resources to spread the word about March 31 and the importance of supporting this community.

5.         Financial support: support organizations and charities working to benefit the transgender community. You can make donations or participate in fundraisers to help fund support and advocacy programs.

6.         Fight for rights: engage in active resistance to discrimination and violence against transgender people. Support legislative initiatives and policies to protect their rights and ensure equality before the law.

7.         Respect Identity: respect and recognize everyone’s gender identity. Use correct pronouns and respect their choice of name and expression of their gender.

Showing support and solidarity with transgender people is an important step towards creating a society where everyone can feel respected and protected, regardless of gender identity.

Also read:

March 8 in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: the struggle for the rights of women from vulnerable groups continues

HIV Criminalization Awareness Day: fighting for justice and understanding