Firm Statement for Transgender Day of Visibility 

March 31, 2024

March 31 marks Transgender Day of Visibility (“TDOV”), a day dedicated to authentically celebrating the lives and work of transgender individuals. While praising these accomplishments, TDOV also intends to recognize the difficulties that trans individuals face, including misrepresentation, violence, and discrimination. Sanford Heisler Sharp encourages the firm to reflect on the lives and contributions of trans individuals, while also considering the discrimination they may face.

About Transgender Day of Visibility

The first TDOV occurred in 2009, spearheaded by activist Rachel Crandall-Crocker in reaction to the only well-known transgender-centered day being Transgender Day of Remembrance. The activist recognized that Transgender Day of Remembrance focused heavily on violence and aimed to refocus recognition of trans people to also celebrate the living. Since its first occurrence, TDOV has evolved to include international online campaigns where activists and allies share statistics regarding transgender issues, personal stories, and other content intended to raise awareness. Within the U.S. specifically, President Joe Biden became the first U.S. president to formally proclaim recognition of the day in 20211, and most recently Secretary of State Blinken reaffirmed TDOV in 2023, stating that “transgender persons deserve to live free from violence, discrimination, and stigma.”2

Celebrating The Living

To “celebrate the living” can be interpretive, but it should focus on uplifting trans voices. Representation of transgender individuals has significantly improved in recent years, with more than 32 regular and recurring characters appearing on broadcast, streaming, and cable.3 Storytelling can provide insight on trans experiences, and we recommend media regarding transgender experiences or featuring transgender actors such as “Pose,” “Major!,” and “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” to engage in authentic representation of transgender individuals.

As an ally, you can also engage in advocacy. In 2021, 91% of the anti-LGBTQ+ bills filed did not become law, partly because of the efforts of activists and allies.4 More recently, in 2023, Republican gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron lost to Gov. Andy Beshear after a campaign focused heavily on anti-transgender rights. As attacks on the lives of transgender individuals become more prominent, this advocacy is more important than ever.

Why Transgender Day of Visibility Matters

Over the past few years, the presence of anti-transgender legislation has exploded in state legislatures and on the federal stage. In 2023, around 600 anti-trans bills were introduced in state legislatures. Already in 2024, there have been around 479 anti-trans bills proposed.5 These include placing limitations on trans athletes, banning gender-affirming healthcare, and building barriers for transgender individuals seeking to update their identification materials. These bills intend to erase transgender individuals from society and are particularly dangerous for LGBTQ+ youth.

While proponents of anti-trans legislation hope that the slew of limitations will silence and dishearten the transgender community and its allies, many states have taken action to proactively protect their community. Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico and Minnesota have passed state laws to protect the right of transgender individuals to access healthcare, which may include gender-affirming hormone treatment, surgery, and voice therapy. In the coming years, we hope to see more states take this stand and ensure that their transgender citizens have access to medically necessary care.

The Visibility of Trans People of Color

While discussing the harms that transgender people experience, we must acknowledge that trans people of color (POC) are hit the hardest by anti-trans violence and anti-trans legislation. Since 2013, at least 85% of transgender and gender non-conforming people who were killed by anti-trans violence were people of color.6 Even more alarming, for every three trans people murdered, two of the victims are trans black women.7 Additionally, surveys on LGBTQ+ experiences reveal that trans POC experience more discrimination by healthcare providers,8 police and courts,9 and employers and schools.10 Given existing racial disparities, the new anti-trans laws have and will inevitably hurt trans POC the most.

Although trans POC have long resisted these anti-trans laws, they have been excluded from trans visibility because of racism within the LGBTQ+ community, including racial segregation11 and slurs.12 A notable example is the erasure from history books and images of Black and Brown transgender activists who played a key role in the Stonewall Riots and the Gay Liberation Movement. These notable activists include Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major-Griffin-Gracy, and Stormé DeLarverie as documented in Refinery, Culture Crush, and The New York Times.

In addition to celebrating more trans people of color on TDOV, we should also celebrate all gender diversity. Many cultures around the world have “third genders” or “gender diverse” communities, as shown in this interactive PBS map, that extend beyond the gender binary. Many of these gender diverse people do not identify as trans or LGBTQ+, in fact the transgender community is a subgroup of the broader group of “gender diverse” people. By embracing gender diversity, we can celebrate everyone and enable more voices and stories to be heard.

What You Can Do to Support the Trans Community

One of the most impactful ways that you can support the transgender community is by engaging with local, community-based organizations and events! The National Center for Transgender Equality has combined forces with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. Both organizations have a strong national presence and provide great resources (online here). Below, we have listed local organizations and upcoming events that may be in your area:

New York City New York Transgender Advocacy Group, TransNewYork
Washington, DC The DC Center for the LGBTQ Community
Baltimore Trans Maryland, Baltimore Safe Haven
Nashville PFLAG Nashville, Middle Tennessee Transgender Alliance
San Francisco/Palo Alto SF LGBTQ Center, Gender Spectrum
San Diego/La Jolla Neutral Corners, The Center

[1] Joseph R. Biden, A Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility (2021).

[2] U.S. Mission Geneva, Statement by Secretary Blinken on Transgender Day of Visibility (2021).
[3] Where We Are on TV Report 2022-2023, GLAAD Media Institute,,1.3%20percent%20from%20last%20year (Mar. 21, 2023).
[4] HRC Staff, Human Rights Campaign Foundation State Equality Index: 91% of Anti-LGBTQ+ Bills in 2022 Failed to Become Law, Human Rights Campaign, (Jan. 26, 2023).
[5] Mapping Attacks on LGBTQ Rights in U.S. State Legislatures in 2024, American Civil Liberties Union, (last updated Mar. 21, 2024).
[6] An epidemic of Violence, Human Rights Campaign, (last updated Mar. 21, 2024).
[7] Id.
[8] Lindsay Mahowald, LGBTQ People of Color Encounter Heightened Discrimination, American Progress, (June 24, 2021).
9] Somjen Frazer et al., Protected & Served? 2022 Community Survey of LGBTQ+ People and People Living with HIV’s Experiences with the Criminal Legal System, LAMBDA LEGAL, (last updated Mar. 21, 2024).
[10] Race and Well-Being Among LGBT Adults, University of California. Los Angeles School of Law, (last visited Mar. 21, 2024).
[11] Beau Lancaster, The history missing from the LGBTQ story told during pride month, The Washington Post,, (June 20, 2022).


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