Happy Trans Day of Visibility!

We celebrate and we mourn together. Here are some ways you can step up.
"Opal" by April Marie Mai, Acrylic, Glitter, and Holographic Confetti on Canvas, 2022
"Opal" by April Marie Mai, Acrylic, Glitter, and Holographic Confetti on Canvas, 2022

Happy Trans Day of Visibility!

We are still here. We are still visible. We are still fighting for our rights.

Trans Day of Visibility is a joyful yet painful time. We get to celebrate those of us who are visible, and yet visibility comes with danger. Visibility can result in death.

This is a day when we send hope and love to each other, and to those who are not visible for so many valid reasons.

We survive and we grow together. That is what history has taught us most.

Do you want to support us? Here are some ways we need support:

1. Buy from our businesses. Seek us out. We make things, we sell things, we offer services. Because we experience abuse, we’re less likely to be able to work.

2. Hire us and support us in the workplace. Stop others from bullying us. Be a voice of dissent if management tries to bully us. It happens often.

3. Fight against the anti-trans legislation currently being proposed and enacted. Recognize that it’s not just targeting trans people, it’s also targeting disabled people. We are at step 7 in the genocide against trans people. We are fighting for our lives. If you aren’t actively helping us, you are complicit in what is being done to us. You don’t have to wonder what you would do if there was a genocide. You’re doing it right now. So if you want to do better than that, now is the time to do better.

4. Speak up when someone spews hate. Each time you do not speak against it, they assume you are okay with it and it emboldens them. It has to be challenged everywhere it is being spread. “That is a horrible thing to say,” “That is not okay,” “Trans people are important and deserve to be protected,” are just a few options. Really want to change minds? People’s minds change most when they are asked questions and they have to present their beliefs. “Why are you saying that?” let them share, find something you can agree with them on in some way, and have a continued conversation that emphasizes our humanity. Don’t expect their mind to change in one conversation. Give them time to reflect. As trans people, it is not safe for us to do that, so do not expect us to do it. Please don’t argue with trolls and bots online. That does not help us. Instead use that energy to do something that does.

5. Support and protect trans youth. Find groups run by trans people and donate. Help trans people you know and strangers leave the area if they want to. It costs a lot to move, and people can’t just pick up their lives and go if they don’t have the means to do so. Do you have a trans friend losing their home? Can you take them in? It might be the difference between life and death for them.

6. Be there for your trans friends and family. These laws are scary. There will be an increase in suicides because of them. That’s the point of these laws. Don’t be pushy, but take your trans friend out for some tea and chat about life, or take them to do something they love. Make sure you let them know it’ll be on you so they don’t have to worry about the cost. We need support. We need our loved ones to help us through this. We need help in order to keep going and keep living. We need connection and love. We may need a reason to keep living. Be understanding. Know you can’t keep someone here who has decided to go. You can enrich our lives and contribute to making it worth staying. Don’t blame someone who chooses to leave and don’t blame yourself. All we can do is be there for each other as much as we’re able to. Please think 100 times before calling a wellness check or the police on us. They are more likely to end us than to help us. If you think someone is likely to do something violent to harm others, that is when it’s time to get them involved.

I hate that on a day that is meant to celebrate us, I have to talk about what you can do to help us want to stay on this planet. But that is where we are, and that’s something we need to talk about.

Hold those you love close, metaphorically and/or physically; whichever they prefer.

No, we aren’t okay.

It’s time for action. Step up.

[Image Description: “Opal” Acrylic Impasto (thick paint) Painting by April Marie Mai. Acrylic, Glitter, and Confetti on Canvas. 36″ x 48″ x 1.5″ A horizontal rectangle impasto thick paint acrylic abstract painting in sky blue, magenta, purple, teal, silver, gold, violet and white; with holographic confetti, gold confetti, holographic glitter, iridescent confetti, and other glitters. The colors mix around. Each swipe of the palette knife is different and contains multiple colors. The iridescent glitter and confetti look different from different angles, so the painting is always changing as you look at it. This painting was inspired by by my love of beautiful opal gems, and it holds so much joy!]

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7 square cards for the “Autistic Affinities Visual Card Game By April Marie Mai.” The top right square has orange ink line abstract painting with 2 lines of white showing behind a teal circles watercolor, with a dash of sprinkles of color from one of my abstract Color Explosion paintings in pink, blue, teal, yellow, green and white. The square below that has a purple allium flower, which is made up of many purple flowers in a globe, a photograph of some of my sketchbooks as a strip on the left side, and blue watercolor splatter along the bottom. To the left of that is a drawing of mine of circles in black ink touching each other, each a slightly different shape because they were drawn by hand, with a white paper behind it peeking through on the right side and the bottom and rainbow splatter from my abstract paintings all over. The square to the left of that one has a mirrored close up of one of my abstract paintings, with mainly hot pink around and a diamond with stripes of darker hot pink, blue, yellow, white, orange and purple inside; the top fourth of the image has teal hand drawn circles on top and there are two purple and yellow pansy flowers in the bottom left corner. The square below that has a mirrored abstract pattern in sky blue and pomegranate red with bits of white and olive green, creating red stars and curved corner star shapes; the bottom left half of the image has hand drawn circles in a slightly different version of sky blue. The square to the right of that one has a hexagon pattern with seafoam green, blue, orange, yellow and black abstract drawing with outlines in black ink and filled in with circles and dots, with a watercolor line going vertically on the left side in seafoam green with a thin graphite pencil line within. The last square in the bottom right corner is a close up photograph of dots on white paper in sky blue, with squiggly lines going up and down the left side of the image in black and black watercolor splash on the bottom half.

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