Transgender Day of Visibility: March 31, 2024

A message from Anne Arundel County Library CEO, Skip Auld: 

Every year since 2009, we celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) on March 31 as a time to reflect on the contributions of transgender people and to recognize the discrimination they face. At the Anne Arundel County Public Library, we have numerous transgender colleagues who are doing fantastic work serving our customers and communities. We love our colleagues and appreciate them for who they are but recognize they are still fighting for basic human rights.

Our library system is fully committed to creating a sense of belonging for all our staff, not to mention our customers. We want everyone to know they are valued for who they are, and that their voices matter. We also work to have programs and collections of materials reflective of all experiences.

We have all witnessed the countless attempts to silence the stories of and by transgender and non-binary people propagated through book bans and hateful bills disguised as attempts to “protect children.” In 2024, more than 550 anti-trans bills were introduced in local and state legislatures including attempts to ban books with trans characters or about trans people.

One special book that I’m very proud that Anne Arundel County Public Library offers is the very book that’s been under attack across the country, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. This book is a tender look inside the growing self-discovery and self-understanding of a young person figuring out what it means not to feel fully boy or girl but rather being in the middle somewhere. Maia Kobabe is an artist, and the book is a graphic memoir that I encourage everyone to read.

TDOV is important also for highlighting transgender youth in our schools. This year is especially tragic as we remember Nex Benedict, the transgender high school student who was beaten up by fellow students when using a bathroom aligned with his gender identity and not the one aligned with the gender assigned at birth. According to the New York Times, Nex told his grandmother that he “did not see themselves as male or female. Nex saw themselves right down the middle. His grandmother said, “I was still learning about it, Nex was teaching me that.”

While we recognize transgender people on March 31, we acknowledge the horrors increasingly faced by our friends, family members, and colleagues in our workplaces every day. It’s not just the bullying, demeaning insults, and even murders of transgender people, but it’s the anti-LGBTQIA+ state legislation introduced even here in Maryland. Laws like the ones passed in Oklahoma that provided “cover” for discriminatory classmates of Nex Benedict to severely injure him both physically and emotionally. How many more people have to die before we recognize humanity in each human being?

We must rise above and be better than the evil spirit animating the worst instincts of some people. I encourage you to check out books such as Trans Like Me: Conversations for All of Us; Trans Bodies, Trans Selves; Trans Kids and Teens: Pride, Joy, and Families in Transition; and Trans Teen Survival Guide. I also encourage you to research and consider supporting organizations like TSER (Trans Student Educational Resources), Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project, and Maryland’s Commission on LGBTQIA+ Affairs. We can make life better for everyone by simply caring and demonstrating solidarity with this part of humanity that’s under such serious threat.

Published March 31, 2024

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