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Trans Day of Visibility celebrated in Montana

Posted at 11:06 AM, Mar 31, 2024

MISSOULA — For over a decade, March 31 has marked an important day of celebration for the transgender community. The Western Montana LGBTQ Community Center will celebrate Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) on Sunday, March 31 with influential members of the Montana trans community.

The day is meant to celebrate the lives of transgender people in the state.

TDOV was started in 2010 by Rachel Crandall, who is the executive director of Transgender Michigan.

While Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20 is a reminder of the discrimination, violence and hate towards the trans community, TDOV is meant to be a celebration of how transgender people have contributed to their communities.

“We are talking about the fact that trans people have always been present and are always going to be present because we’re not just in your communities, we are part of what it means to be a community,” Zooey Zephyr, Missoula representative and speaker at the event, says.

Last year, LGBTQ community members and allies spent March 31 protesting at capitol buildings and courthouses across the state, voicing opposition to new legislative bills targeting the LGBTQ community.

For Erin Reed, speaker at the event, this year’s TVOD will be focused more on the victories for the trans community.

“These bills aren’t passing as much this year,” she says. “I hope that we can look at one another and take this as our time for a little bit of solidarity building and reprieve and preparing for the things that we have yet to come.”

While March 31 has a different tone than Nov. 20, Zephyr says it’s impossible not to recognize the lows and the highs of being transgender.

“You hold simultaneously the reality of what it means to be queer in America, which is to have found joy in oneself, to see oneself, know who we are, and to celebrate that," she says. "And we also hold the fact that many of us don’t make it.”

Zeke Cork, a board member at The Center, will also speak on March 31. For him, TDOV is especially important for young people, as many of the congressional bills have aimed to restrict health care for trans youth.

“By me being visible, it lets them see that there are adults living these lives. I know a lot of them don’t think they’ll live beyond their 20s, you know? And it’s like no, you will, and you’ll prosper, and you’ll have families, and you’ll have friends, and you’ll have love, and you’ll know these things,” he says.

The event at The Center will start at 3 p.m., and is open to any transgender people or LGBTQ allies. The other speakers will be Miles Shuck and Gwen Nicholson.

The Center recently moved buildings and is now located at 500 N Higgins Ave, Suite 105.

The event will include a free, catered meal from Bolt and Bruisers Bakery.