Transgender Day of Visibility – March 31, 2023
Each year, March 31 marks the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV). This day celebrates friends, family, colleagues and neighbours in the transgender, non-binary and gender diverse communities. It also raises awareness of diverse gender identities and the challenges, including discrimination and transphobia, that are faced daily by transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse people in Canada and around the world.
As we celebrate TDOV, we acknowledge the struggles and sacrifices of those in the transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse communities who fought to exist in a world where they are acknowledged, respected, and valued as they live authentically as their true identities.
Though generations of struggle, courage, and activism have brought communities closer to equitable treatment in society, studies have shown that Canadians who are transgender are still more likely to experience violent victimization and unwanted sexual behaviours than their cisgender peers. Canadians who are transgender are also more likely to report suicidal thoughts and poor mental health, as well as use substances to cope with experiences of abuse or violence.
HWDSB is committed to creating safe and inclusive learning environments and working cultures where everyone can belong and exist as the true, authentic version of themselves. We can support HWDSB’s transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse students, families, colleagues and neighbours through affirmation, empowerment, awareness, and allyship.
Gender identity and expression are important to well-being, and are often factors in targeted discrimination in schools and communities. Sadly, we have seen an increase in harassment in media coverage as well as in legislatures in Canada and beyond.
In the United States, human rights remain under attack due to transphobic laws being introduced at local, state, and national levels. It is important to act before these trends increase in Canada. We can all foster student and staff well-being by actively confronting transphobic behaviour, calling out transphobia by name, supporting individuals who have been impacted, and ensuring accountability by following proper reporting procedures.
Many staff and students in the transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse communities have been instrumental in promoting change. This has been done by developing and delivering learning to peers, starting positive space groups and other peer support groups, working on policies and procedures, and other work to increase safety and inclusion within schools and Board buildings. Let us all set an example in schools and workplaces to ensure that all individuals, regardless of their identities, can feel confident in their safety and know that they are valued and cared for at HWDSB.
Finally, let us take time to acknowledge the accomplishments of transgender people both in Canada and around the world. Let us reflect on the work that still needs to be done to achieve equity and justice for students, colleagues, and communities. Transgender people are valued members the community, and we all have a role to play in creating better, safer, and more inclusive spaces at HWDSB, so that everyone can live their lives as their true, authentic selves.
Thank you for doing your part in making schools, departments and buildings welcoming and safe places for everyone.
Superintendent, Equity and Safe Schools
Resources and Supports:
- HWDSB – Transcend: Virtual Social and Support Group for Transgender, Non-Binary, Gender Non-Conforming and Gender Questioning Students
- HWDSB – Support for Families of Transgender, Non-Binary, Gender Non-Conforming and Gender Questioning Students
- Lesbian Gay Bi Transgender Youth Line – confidential, non-judgmental and informed peer support. 1-800-268-9688/647-694-4275 (Text)
- Speqtrum Hamilton – offers peer supports and community building for Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ youth. Confidential Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Transgender Lifeline’s Hotline – a peer support phone service run by transgender people for transgender and questioning peers. 1-877-330-6366.