Today is National Transgender Day of Visibility, founded in 2009 by Rachel Crandall Crocker, a Michigan-based transgender activist and the Executive Director of Transgender Michigan. The day celebrates the accomplishments of transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming individuals while raising awareness of the work that still needs to be done to achieve trans justice.
This year, as numerous proposed laws and policies threaten transgender rights around the country, it is especially important to provide affirmation, education, and advocacy.
We honor the dignity, safety, and wellbeing of our transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming classmates, colleagues, and friends. We celebrate the members of our community who embrace their truth and simply request that the world around them respect that truth. We affirm the strength of trans students who brave an often-hostile world to live in dignity, the value that nonbinary students add to our understanding of gender when they decline to be categorized, and the work that gender nonconforming students must sometimes perform to navigate social relations in our halls.
We work every day to make this institution a place where all individuals can thrive. Our Office of Equity & Inclusion was founded as a tangible representation of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School’s commitment to a community that fosters a culture of belonging. While we strive to cultivate a diverse and inclusive community, we know there is still work to be done and acknowledge the harm our learning curve may cause our trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming community members. We commit to continue learning and growing so that everyone at Penn Carey Law can safely bring their whole selves into every part of this institution. E&I will strive to support all members of our community as we engage in this important, ongoing work of cultivating true inclusion.
There are many resources available to help all members of our community learn more about what it means to be transgender, the many challenges the trans community faces, and the ways we can be well-informed allies. Here are just a few:
• Our Law & Inequality Series recently featured a conversation on Transgender Rights and Advocacy.
• On campus, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center enriches the experience, fosters success, celebrates victories, and affirms the existence of Penn’s LGBTQ+ undergraduates, professional and graduate students, staff, faculty, and alumni using the lenses of social justice and intersectionality.
• On 3/31/22 the LGBT Center will welcome members of the University community to visit and share what Trans Day of Visibility means to you.
Many nonprofit organizations are engaged in exceptional advocacy to protect transgender rights. They include:
• A guide is available from the National Center for Transgender Equality with information and resources for those who wish to learn more.
Throughout the country and around the world, communities are dedicating this day to advocacy.
• Advocacy opportunities across the US can be found on the Trans Week of Action website.
• In Philadelphia a rally at City Hall will be hosted by the Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs at noon on March 31st.
To ensure a true culture of belonging and respect, it is our collective responsibility and privilege to affirm and uplift all members of our community. We steadfastly work to achieve that today and every day.
Arlene Rivera Finkelstein (pronouns: she/her)
Associate Dean for Equity & Justice; Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Officer
Tobias Barrington Wolff (pronouns: he/him)
Jefferson B. Fordham Professor of Law; Deputy Dean for Equity & Inclusion