The history behind International Transgender Day of Visibility

This story was published in partnership with The 19th, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting on gender, politics and policy.

Rachel Crandall-Crocker, the creator of International Transgender Day of Visibility, wanted people to have a moment of happiness. So she made a Facebook post encouraging people to organize festivities in their hometowns and started messaging accounts from all over the world — it was worth a shot.

“I’d been wanting there to be a special day for us for a long time,” she recalled. “And I was waiting and waiting for someone else to do it. And then finally I said, ‘I’m not waiting anymore. I’m going to do it.’”

Rachel Crandall-Crocker started International Transgender Day of Visibility, which is celebrated each March 31.

It was 2009, and at the time, the only annual event that most transgender communities had was nothing to celebrate. In 1998, Rita Hester, a Black transgender women in Boston, was brutally stabbed in her own apartment. Transgender women were tired of being targets and done being dismissed by the press, which misgendered Hester. They marched through Hester’s neighborhood, and Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), a day honoring transgender homicide victims, was born. 

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