On Friday, April 10, we celebrated Transgender Day of Empowerment. Established as a way to celebrate the growing empowerment of the trans community and the courage, dedication and changes the trans movement has been able to achieve, it is an inspiring evening and a great way to show support for our trans brothers and sisters.
In 2005, The San Diego LGBT Community Center changed its name to specifically acknowledge and include the bisexual and transgender members of our community. Since that time and across the last decade we have begun to see changes that are encouraging – changes in the hearts, minds and attitudes of many within our community and in the larger society. As we all allow ourselves to be educated and grow, our understanding and policies change, often too slowly but change nonetheless.
However, there is much left to address. Our transgender community is still subject to horrifying levels of violence and discrimination. The number of transgender women – particularly women of color – beaten and murdered each year is appalling. There are far too few protections against blatant discrimination in employment, housing and more, and as ludicrous as it is, there are still places trying to pass laws about which bathrooms trans folks are allowed to use.
Yet in spite of all the obstacles, there are trans people accomplishing great things every day nationwide. Transgender Day of Empowerment is a way for us to celebrate their courage and honor the accomplishments of those who do so much locally to educate all and move us forward. As a community we still have much to learn about being helpful allies to our trans brothers and sisters, but joining us at The Center each year to celebrate Transgender Day of Empowerment is a great place to start.