Something Cool and New – Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) – Three Actions

From Trans Pride 2020 in the UK

Did something new start this year, or maybe I just wasn’t aware of it?  March 31st as Trans Day of Visibility. So I had to do my research and found the first time March 31st was celebrated as the Trans Day of Visibility was way back in 2009!

Transgender people are becoming much more visible across the world, but there are also a great number of issues around discrimination that need to be addressed. So hopefully more and more people will pay attention to March 31st.

One annual commemoration I have known about and have blogged about a few times is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20, started in 1999, about a year after Rita Hester, a transgender woman and activist in Boston, was found murdered in her own apartment. It is very sad that transgender people are murdered or physically harmed at an extremely high rate compared to the general population, often fueled by hatred of this misunderstood segment of our community. I wrote my first blog about the Trans Day of Remembrance back in 2015.

It is indeed very important to focus on the totally unjustified and horrific killing of fellow human beings simply because of their gender identity or expression, and this needs to be addressed. But very importantly, we must go further. We need to move way beyond simply ending the violence, but also addressing systemic prejudice against trans people in employment, housing, education, sports and more.

And we also need to honor and recognize all the wonderful contributions transgender people have made to our world over time.

Transgender people have made great contributions to society, like Martine Rothblatt, inventor of Sirius Radio

In my 2015 Transgender Day of Remembrance blog, I shared several organizational policies and procedures that should be put in place to fully support transgender employees.

Now recently, transgender activist and workplace belonging expert Rhodes Perry (see my blog about his book) sent out an email to his many followers this year encouraging all of us to take at least one of 3 actions throughout the year in honor of TDOV:

1) Self-Educate. Participate in one of the Transgender Training Institute’s virtual webinars and support their sustainability campaign.

2) Change Systems. Commit to building gender inclusive systems, policies, and practices by taking the Higher gender inclusion audit.

3) Invest in Trans Leaders. Donate to the Trans Justice Funding Project, and support trans leaders moving & shaking the world.  (Note Total Engagement Consulting contributed $100 to this project on March 31st)

And I myself also love consulting and training in this area, so please never hesitate to get in touch if I can assist you in anyway in advancing transgender and gender nonbinary equity in your organization.

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Do watch my last year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance interview for City of Greensboro’s monthly “One Greensboro” diversity broadcast. The tape is now on Youtube –  the first section is about Native American Heritage Month and then my 9 minute interview around Transgender Awareness starts at the 20 min 50 second mark. 

Transgender Day of Remembrance Blog – Transwork: Economic Development in the Transgender Community

Transgender people successfully work in a variety of professions, including serving in our military (photo: KOTA News)

Please do check out several additional useful links at the bottom of this blog!

Each year on or near November 20th, many communities hold their Transgender Day or Remembrance (link to information from GLAAD), or TDOR, as it is often called, an annual memorial ceremony held for transgender people who have lost their lives to violence in the prior year. But certainly, any kind of remembrance should also spur people to take action to assist those who are living. There are still a high proportion of transgender people dealing with severe economic hardship.

In Philadephia, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce affiliate chapter, the Independence Business Alliance, is kicking off “Transwork,” an innovative solution to address this issue.


THE ISSUE: 29% of transgender people are living in poverty compared to 14% of the general US population, and the trans unemployment of 15% is 3 times the national average. 30% of trans people have been fired, denied a promotion, or harassed in the workplace due to their gender identity. Transgender people, traditionally under-employed and after several bad experiences, start to distrust programs and institutions. And in going into interviews, criminal records, former incarceration, and conflicting names and gender markers on identity documents further complicates gaining employment.


AN INNOVATIVE SOLUTION: The Transwork program actually has three components:

1. Assisting trans and non-binary folks to prepare for the job market through a job board, job fairs, supportive vocational services, resume / interviewing coaching and a resume bank.

2. Training employers and workforce development providers to provide safe, effective and culturally competent environments.

3. Promoting trans entrepreneurship as another viable alternative to working for an organization.

Transgender woman Martine Rothblatt, CEO of United Therapies and former CEO of SiriusXM, is the highest paid CEO in the country. But she is a rare exception to the rule of the underemployment of skillful transgender people. (photo by Andre Chung)

And what is really fantastic is that the Philadelphia team wants to share this program with everyone. They are currently packaging the methodology to share with other National LGBT Chamber local affiliates so they can launch a similar program themselves!


CURRENT STATUS: The website has now launched; check out https://transwork.org/ for a lot more details. They are developing a first-phase resume bank, working on recruiting and training employers, and plan to conduct a pilot employment program in the coming year. They have just launched the entrepreneurship part of the program, including workshops about trans business ownership, assistance with NGLCC business certification, and mentorship. They will be preparing a toolkit for other locations around the country to implement similar programs. You can contact the Transwork team through their website.

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Other related blogs and an organizational self assessment: Please check out these additional related blogs and tools below:

The Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer’s 12 question organizational transgender readiness self-assessment

Affinity Magazine article, “Seven Steps to Supporting Transgender Employees in the Workplace”

My editorial blog, “Yet One More Way to Oppress Transgender Americans.”

2016 Transgender Day of Remembrance – Guest Blog by transgender business leader and consultant Elaine Martin