March 31 marks International Transgender Day of Visibility. This will be my fourth year celebrating the day, which was created to take time to acknowledge not only the courage and strength it takes to live openly as a transgender or gender-nonconforming individual, but the challenges our community is still facing.
However, this year I feel farther than ever from my community and I admit that I find it challenging to feel a celebratory spirit when so many of my fellow transgender and gender-nonconforming peers are being overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While there are more resources available now than ever before to bridge the gaps in person-to-person contact, there are few resources that can calm my worries.
I worry every day for my trans and gender-nonconforming friends who have been sent home from their open and affirming university campuses to the unsafe homes of parents who openly wish ill on people who they don’t understand.
I wonder if the people I love have good insurance, if they will be able to get in to see the correct doctors for their hormone therapy, and if their surgeries have been canceled. More than anything, I worry that they will get ill and pass away and be buried under tombstones that don’t represent who they truly are.
I am unsure how exactly I will be celebrating TDOV this year, but I have a feeling it will involve checking in on all of the fellow transgender and gender-nonconforming in my life and reminding them that I am thinking of them, always.
In a time of social distancing, we must not let ourselves become shut-in and hopeless. We may not be able to gather in person this year, but we will not be silent, and when the day comes that we are able to gather again, I’ll bring the flag.