Transgender Day of Visibility, started by Michigan’s Rachel Crandall-Crocker, was created as a day to visibly celebrate being transgender as well as allowing allies to show their support for the transgender community. The day is designated to occur as a yearly event on March 31st. This year, the day falls on the Christian holiday of Easter.

Many communities in Michigan have been celebrating all week long and many others will have events on Good Friday and over the weekend, despite this being Holy Week for Christians.

Washtenaw Board of Directors designates Easter Day as “Transgender Day of Visibility.”

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The Washtenaw Board of Directors passed a resolution on March 6th recognizing March 31st, which falls on Easter this year, as “Transgender Day of Visibility in Washtenaw County.” The resolution also supports the display of the transgender pride flag.

The resolution says that the county is “committed to fostering a diverse and welcoming community and ensuring that every individual is treated with dignity, respect, and protected from discrimination or harm.”

It recognizes March 31st, Easter Day this year, as “Transgender Day of Visibility” and discusses standing in solidarity with and in support of transgender people across the United States.

“As the only LGBTQ+ elected representative at the county level, I am incredibly proud to stand as a voice for our vibrant and diverse community” says Commissioner Katie Scott, District 9.

In a statement on the county’s website, Scott says, “It is an honor to serve as a visible symbol of hope and representation, reminding the transgender community that their voices matter and
that Washtenaw County is a place where people are safe to be their authentic self. Together we will continue to push for equality, advocate for inclusive policies, and create a community where every person feels valued and respected, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Pride flags to fly in Washtenaw County throughout the weekend.

According to the county’s website, the transgender pride flag was raised on Thursday, March 28 and will fly through Easter on March 31st as a symbol of solidarity with the transgender community of Washtenaw County. This is the fourth year that the Commissioners are recognizing what they call an “important month” with a flag raising ceremony.

“I am proud that the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners recognizes the importance of honoring the International Day of Transgender Visibility,” says Commissioner Justin Hodge, District 5, Chair of the Board. “Transgender individuals are more likely to be fired or denied a job, become homeless or live in extreme poverty, and face abuse and violence. I hope that raising the flag over the

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County building is a strong signal that Washtenaw County is committed to ensuring every individual is treated with dignity, respect, and protection from discrimination or harm.”

No statement from Gov. Whitmer yet.

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has in the past made statements and released videos about Transgender Day of Visibility, has yet to release any kind of comment or proclamation yet on the transgender holiday that coincides with Easter this year. There have also been no resolutions or proclamations pertaining to the transgender day from the Michigan House or Senate as of the publishing of this article.

In 2023, Gov. Whitmer said in a video, “Today is Trans Day of Visibility and I want you to know that no matter who you are, who you love, how you identify, there’s a place for you right here in Michigan. We will fight for your freedom to live your life and to be yourself without fear of discrimination.”

Events planned for Transgender Day of Visibility.

Across the state and the country, different cities and organizations have events planned during the week. The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency posted about Transgender Day of Visibility being March 31st and commented on the social media platform X about a “Fireside Chat” that occurred on Wednesday, March 27th by Admiral Rachel L. Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Dept. for Health and Human Services. Levine is the first openly transexual four-star officer in U.S. history.

MSU Alumna originally organized the day back in 2009.

The International Transgender Day of Visibility, started in 2009, would not exist without MSU alumna Rachel Crandall-Crocker who is the founder behind the movement. Crandall-Crocker who transitioned in 1997, lost her job and her marriage when she “came out” as transgender according to an MSU Today report about her. “Thats the way it was back then,” she said.

In 1997, Crandall-Crocker and her wife, Susan, launched the group “Transgender Michigan” which is now a “thriving organization dedicated to improving the lives of transgender individuals in Michigan by connecting them to safe spaces and support, resources and event details.”

The organization also put in place the first transgender hotline in the United States. However, in 2009, Crandall-Crocker still felt there was a “gap” in the transgender community and she wanted a day that transgenders could celebrate being alive.

So Crandall-Crocker established the Transgender Day of Visibility by posting about it on Facebook, not sure if it would gain traction. Although awareness of the day spread slowly at first, after she contacted leaders around the world, the day took off. Now the day is celebrated worldwide, even in countries where being a transgender is still illegal.

President Biden declares March 31st as “Transgender Day of Visibility.”

On March 31, 2021, President Joe Biden officially declared the day as the Transgender Day of Visibility, urging all Americans to unite in the pursuit of complete equality for transgender individuals.

This declaration marked the first time a U.S. president formally acknowledged this event with a presidential proclamation.

Transgender rallies to occur at Michigan Capitol and in D.C.

The celebration of a Transgender Week of Visibility in Michigan includes a rally at the Capitol on Saturday, March 30th. The rally at the State Capitol will include pinball, door prizes, karaoke and a speech by Crandall-Crocker.

At the National Mall in Washington, D.C., there will be a TRANSform the Vote Rally scheduled for Easter Sunday and also a “Blossom Gala” featuring an all-trans drag showcase.

Additionally, landmarks and major buildings across the country will be lit up in pink, white and light blue to mark the day. In the past year, notable landmarks such as New York’s One World Trade Center and Niagara Falls were illuminated.

Minister explains how Easter is a good day for transgenders to celebrate their lives.

Concerning the transgender day falling on Easter this year, United Church of Christ’s Minister for Gender and Sexuality Justice Ministries, Rachael Ward, wrote a commentary for the church, saying, “Christ’s death is brutal, stemming from prosecution of difference, led by empire. And Christ’s resurrection continues to be a place queer folks find hope in their bodies, minds, and spirits, transcending moments of injustice and surges of hate. The resurrection story holds for LGBTQ+ people of faith the ultimate promise and truth: God is constantly coming out for your love and your personhood. And God knows intimately the ways it aches when those around us deny us of our rights to be human and in relationship to each other. “

Ward continues to say, “Resurrection this Easter Sunday can look like uplifting not just the disparities trans and non-binary siblings are facing, but offering space for their gifts from God to be celebrated… This year, for TDOV (Transgender Day of Visibility), Easter’s resurrection is a rainbow of queer joy and resistance. Easter’s resurrection is an invitation and reminder that when God came out for humanity in full love, God meant every single one of us.”

Detroit Archbishop speaks out about “gender confusion.”

On the other side of the issue and likely celebrating Easter and not Transgender Visibility Day, is Archbishop of Detroit’s Allen Vigneron who wrote a 5,000-word pastoral letter sent to Catholic leaders in six counties in southeast Michigan. In the letter, he talked about the “challenges of gender identity” and used the phrase “gender confusion” instead of talking about transgenders. He also said that “sex is willed by God at our creation and given to us as a gift. God willed that human persons would be either male or female. Sex is assigned, not by a doctor or the individual, but genetically and biologically by God in the act of creation.”

Crandall-Crocker spoke out against the letter saying, “I think that his statement is really letting down so many residents of Michigan. He’s really making it…even more difficult for the transgender residents of Michigan and their family, friends and allies.”

Saying that the acceptance of gender confusion is a dangerous trend that will harm people, Vigneron also released a FAQ explaining new policies that metro Detroit Catholics are expected to follow. The rules, which go into effect in August, outline rules for Catholic parish programs and schools including education programs, conferences, events, restrooms, athletic events and dress codes.