(LEX 18) — President Joe Biden issued the first presidential proclamation Wednesday to recognize Transgender Day of Visibility.
The day, which is observed March 31 and was founded in 2009, is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness about the discrimination and violence they face worldwide.
"The word 'visibility' I think is a misnomer," said Tuesday Meadows, a Lexington native and transgender rights advocate. "What I really would like it to be called is 'Transgender Education Day.'"
Meadows is a vocal proponent of transgender rights, but she hid her true gender for many years. Still today, she is afraid to travel in certain parts of the country.
"The more these anti-trans bills that pass I really do not want to travel there," Meadows explained.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are so far 192 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Of those, 93 directly target transgender people, according to the organization.
"When people start talking anti-trans what happens is it dehumanizes us," Meadows said. "And when you dehumanize somebody, it's much easier to perpetuate violence against them."
The Human Rights Campaign tracks violence against transgender people. In 2020, HRC recorded 44 deaths of transgender and non-conforming people. Thus far, in 2021, the organization has recorded 12 deaths of transgender and non-binary people.
"Our community is fairly small," Meadows said. "So we're easy to villainize."
Meadows said she has stopped arguing with people who refuse to listen, but she encourages people to do their research about the transgender community--even if it means a simple google search. Most importantly, like cisgender people, Meadows said, transgender people just want to live their lives.
"I'm a grandmother and I want to be with my grandchildren and be able to take them out to places that every grandmother takes their children," she said. "And I'm sure there's a lot of people out there who just want to live their life."