Transgender Day of Visibility 2022

I was on vacation last week, so I didn’t have a chance to post this update. Now that my family staycation is over, I wanted to share a few thoughts on this topic. In addition, an excerpt of our internal communication is appended below. It includes a recent update to our company Pride logo, which now has the Progress Pride flag colors to acknowledge the BIPOC and trans / non-binary members of our community.

You may be asking yourself why this acknowledgement of the trans community is so important.  Beyond the obvious “Treat People Right” (one of our ZS values), in the U.S. at the moment there are significant legislative efforts underway at the state level to undermine or eliminate protections for the trans community.  You can read an overview of the current lawsuit in Texas on the ACLU website, here and here.  In short, this new legislation intends to criminalize parents, medical professionals, and other caregivers for providing affirming treatment of gender dysphoria – what is now considered the standard of care for transgender youth.  Similar legislation is being proposed in many states, but the Texas law is the most serious one, because the intent is to remove transgender children from their families if gender-affirming care is provided. 

In the meantime, President Biden has also issued an Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation, signaling his intent to address this at the federal level.

At a personal level, what is particularly striking to me is how young transgender kids just know that they are different, and often at a much earlier age than people who realize they are not heterosexual.  This is not about choice!  Here are multiple generations of transgender folks who you might be interested to follow on social media:

  • One of my favorite accounts on TikTok is a mom who is raising her transgender child. In this video, Evan experiences gender dysphoria and literally turns their day around by wearing different clothes.  You could also listen to what Evan has to say about Transgender Day of Visibility. 
  • On Instagram, Kaiden Blu Anderson openly shares his transition journey, including many photos of his life as a female high school and college student before beginning his transition.   He identifies as queer, and he’s in his late 20s or early 30s, recently married to his longtime girlfriend.
  • You might also be interested to follow along with Cory on TikTok.  He is a transgender man who shares his experiences and perspective, as he did in this clip, this one, and this one.   
  • And finally, Mardi Pieronek is on TikTok.  She is in her late 50s, and she started her transition in 1977.  She is active on TikTok to share her experiences, to remind everyone of far we have come – and the risks if we regress.  She is vocal in part to provide inspiration and support to young people in transition. 

You might also enjoy this essay entitled The Safety, Privilege, and Invisibility I Found Living Stealth by Nat Vikitsreth in @them magazine, in which the author talks about her experience of living in stealth to finally living authentically as a non-binary person. 

Here is a little visibility into what we’ve been communicating internally at ZS. both about the updated logo and Transgender Day of Visibility.

We have been working with our Marketing & Communications teams to update the Pride logo to reflect the latest thinking in the community.  While the original Pride flag was a rainbow, the Progress Pride flag includes new colors to represent people of color and the trans community.

I hope you like the new version as much as I do!

You can read more about the Progress Pride flag here and here.   From the first linked article:

  • “The colors black and brown were added to the Progress Pride Flag to represent people of color (POC). This was an important addition because people of color have often been left out of the queer narrative despite being the driving force behind the movement.
  • “Traditionally, the colors pink and baby blue have been used to represent whether a baby is a boy or a girl. Here, the colors denote those genders. The color white represents people who are transitioning, intersex, or identify outside of the gender binary.”

While an updated Pride logo doesn’t change our workplace culture or individual behavior, we hope that this evolution in our logo signals ZS’s ongoing commitment to adapt our thinking and continue to raise our standards about what good looks like for the LGBTQIA+ community at ZS.  It’s also important to me that we acknowledge the intertwined history with our Black and Hispanic Alliance (BHA)‌ colleagues, and the growing need to provide better support and care for the trans community at ZS and in our communities.

What is it?   An international day of visibility dedicated to recognizing the resilience and achievements of the transgender and gender non-binary community By acknowledging this day, we want to both celebrate the transgender and gender non-binary communities and raise awareness around the struggles they face so we can all be better allies and advocates
Why is it important?   While the US has made significant progress in advancing the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community broadly, many in the transgender community continue to face systemic barriers to equality Some of the unique challenges the community face relate to: Continued discrimination. 5 years ago only 25% of people in the US supported trans rights. It is worth celebrating that by 2019, that rate jumped to over 60%. That said, the vast majority of individuals who identify as nonbinary, genderqueer, agender or gender nonconforming reported experiencing discrimination in the past year. Elevated levels of poverty. Close to one third of the transgender community lives in poverty. This is made worse by the fact that the continued discrimination the community faces impacts their ability access social services. For example, only 30% of women’s shelters are willing to house trans women. Access to health care. 1 in 3 transgender individuals have had to educate their doctor to receive appropriate care. Especially given these challenges, we should all take inspiration from the resiliency of the community and celebrate the bravery and courage it takes to live authentically as a transgender or gender non-binary person
What else can you do to observe this day?   Continue to educate yourself! Read more here, here and here. Support the community! This can be as simple as diversifying the media you consume to include representation from the transgender and gender non-binary communities. Watch an episode of the series Pose on Netflix which stars the largest cast of transgender actors Add @them to your social media feed Listen to the podcast NB: My non-binary life Take action! In just the past few months, hundreds of bills focused on anti-trans legislation have flooded into local governments. Read more and learn how to take action here.  

Thanks for following along. In the comments, I would love to hear what your company is doing, how you acknowledged the day, and any other resources you recommend.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: