#DrewsViews: Trans Day of Visibility

by Drew Adams

March 31st is International Transgender Day of Visibility. Being visible as a trans person is an incredible act of courage. It might be scary, and it’s not appropriate for everyone (do NOT be out if it’s not safe for you to do so), but for many of us, being out and proud and visible is one of the most important things we can do.

One moment that really illustrated the importance of visibility for me occurred over a year ago. I was scrolling on Snapchat, as teenagers tend to do, and I saw something my friend posted. It said “reply to this story if you want to know my first impression of you!” I thought it would be fun, so I replied. The person who posted the story was another transgender teen guy, and I had met him at a queer youth camping retreat a few weeks prior. I didn’t expect more than “I thought you were cool” or something to that extent for his impression of me. When my friend responded, however, I was blown away. 
 He said that what he remembered most about seeing me for the first time was the shirt I was wearing. I had been wearing a T-shirt from Point5cc that said “Visible for those who can’t be,” with the word visible in trans flag colors. My friend said that seeing me walk around in public wearing a shirt that outed me as trans was a huge moment for him. He said that he was amazed to see someone so confident in their transgender identity and that he hopes that he can be that comfortable, too, someday. He said that I gave him hope and reminded him that transgender people will not be so discriminated against forever.

Honestly, I was baffled. I had no idea that something as simple as wearing a T-shirt could make a difference for anyone in any way. This experience really shaped how I viewed visibility and how I viewed activism. When we think of visibility in the queer community, many of us think of flashy parades, people in trans flag capes, major court decisions, or stories of discrimination against those who dare to be loud and proud. But in reality, visibility can be something as simple as wearing a T-shirt, and that T-shirt can make a huge difference to more people than we might think.

Happy Trans Day of Visibility!

About the Author:
Drew Adams is a transgender high school senior from Ponte Vedra, FL, who is committed to LGBTQ advocacy at the local and national levels. He serves as his high school GSA’s president and raises money for Northeast Florida’s LGBTQ youth outreach, JASMYN, to which he also donates food, toiletries and school supplies. Nationally, Drew serves as a youth ambassador and advocacy volunteer for The Trevor Project, a youth social media ambassador for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and a Volunteer and Intern Coordinator for Point of Pride. On the legislative side, Drew lobbies for the Equality Act by visiting with his Congressional representatives and their staff.

Additionally, Drew has spent years fighting to change his school district’s bathroom policy to be trans-inclusive, and the fight is still ongoing. Drew is an International Baccalaureate student and a volunteer at the Mayo Clinic, and he hopes to go to medical school and become an adolescent psychiatrist specializing in transgender health. For fun, he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, creates sculpture art and plays the piano.