Tarleton’s ODIIP to celebrate Transgender Day of Visability


Photo courtesy of socialjustice.rutgers.edu

Transgender Day of Visibility is a day to honor and recognize those in the LGBTQ+ community. It is celebrated annually and the main goal of the day is to celebrate trans visibility and empowerment.

On March 31, Tarleton State University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and International Programs (ODIIP) will host a come and go reception to celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV). The reception will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Barry B. Thompson Student Center (TSC) room 219. There you can connect with others in the community and learn about some transgender leaders.
TDOV is an international celebration of transgender lives that is celebrated annually on March 31. On the official TDOV website tdov.org/, explains that on this day we celebrate the many accomplishments made by transgender and gender non-conforming people.
“The day is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments and victories of transgender & gender non-conforming people while raising awareness of the work that is still needed to save trans lives. The holiday was founded in 2009 as a reaction to the lack of LGBT holidays celebrating transgender people’s successes,” the TDOV website said.
For Emily VanKirk, Tarleton’s ODIIP Student Specialist II, TDOV is a day provide hope for the community and help them see a path to a brighter future.
“It is an opportunity to honor the brilliance, resilience and power in our community and offer hope to others within it. TDOV helps us see each other and a path to a future. This is revolutionary for a community facing such persistent violence,” VanKirk said.
TDOV is also a day for hope for Nicolas Williams, Tarleton’s Gay-Straight Alliance President.
“Transgender Day of Visibility is a lot of things to me. One of those things is a hope. Before I came out to those around me, I would just follow all these other transgender people and think to myself, Okay, if they can do it then there’s hope that I can live my life the way that I want and can,” Williams said.
As we get closer to TDOV we are also reminded of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) and the harsh reality of being transgender and gender non-conforming. Anti-trans violence occurs everyday. TDOR is an annual celebration of the many transgender and gender non-conforming people who have lost their lives to anti-trans violence. For Williams it is important to remember the many lives lost but also to maintain hope.

“In the community, there is both TDOR and TDOV, for me they are both one and the same. For me, TDOR represents those that are no longer with us, so they can be remembered and honored. TDOV, on the other hand, represents for me that they aren’t gone. Almost like. “We are still here; I am still here. We are going to continue to show that this community exists in life and that we are thriving,” Williams said.
Being transgender or gender non-conforming is not easy, but there will always be people supporting you. VanKirk is one of those people.
“Come talk to me! I’d love to be in your corner. Be honest, and don’t be ashamed to advocate for yourself you deserve to be treated with respect, whatever that means to you. You do not have to be the dictionary on all things trans you can always refer them [critics] to other resources [including me] you just have to take care of yourself,” VanKirk said.
That sentiment is shared with Prairie Endres-Parnell, the Advisor for GSA in the Department of Communication Studies. Parnell explains that repressing your identity is unhealthy, so finding a place where you feel safe is extremely important.
“Find your allies. Come visit GSA, the advisers, ODIIP. We will help you, see you, listen to you. Find a place where you can be yourself, at least for a little while. Repressing identity isn’t healthy. In Stephenville [and on campus] it is hard to open up sometimes. You have to keep yourself safe, but you have too also be yourself,” Parnell said.
Williams expresses that the best way to be yourself is to be yourself bravely and unapologetically.
“The advice I have for other students is to be brave. It may be scary and it may be hard right now, but you are still here. You are still expressing yourself; you don’t have to be out and proud to know and express yourself. Take up space, show off and let your voice heard,” Williams said.
As we prepare for TDOV, the community is hoping for many positive things to come out of this celebration. Williams expressed that he hopes that TDOV shows students that they are not alone and that they don’t have to hide their identities.
“There are a million and one positive things that I hope come out of this. One that we make it more celebrated, I hope that by having this day we can give hope to other people [and] students that they are not alone. I hope that people can understand and see that they don’t always have to hide, that they can be who they are,” Williams said.
There is still a long way we need to go as a campus community to accept and provide safety for transgender and gender non-conforming students. But there are many things underway in order to accept and provide this safety. VanKirk expresses their hope for a more inclusive campus where students don’t have to hide their identity.
“There’s always room to grow. I hope to see continued advocacy on behalf of all trans and gender-nonconforming students, including for their full access to all university resources and participation in all activities. I hope to see folks continuing to educate themselves about trans issues, being open to growth, and willing to listen to those most impacted. I also hope to see an eventual pathway for students to use their chosen names in and around campus, more gender inclusive housing, and single stall restrooms,” VanKirk said.
The TDOV reception is scheduled for March 31, at 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in TSC 219. If you would like to stay up to date on how Tarleton is celebrating TDOV, you can follow Tarleton ODIIP @tarletondiversity or check Texan sync for upcoming events.
If you’d like to learn more about TDOV or what it means to be transgender or gender non-conforming you can check out the links bellow: