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Transgender Day of Visibility builds on awareness, affirmation

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Shining a light on the trans community was the advocates’ goal for Transgender Day of Visibility.

It’s an important step, advocates say, as many in the trans community feel targeted by community members and Indiana legislators.

For many trans people, every day is a day of visability. But today, they want everyone to open their eyes. Issues impacting the trans community have topped the legislative agenda for weeks. But, advocates say, they are more than just bills in laws. They deserve to be here.

Having a sense of community is often a vital survival tool for people who are transgender. As suicide rates continue to climb, many find value by being together.

Flo Battles, deputy director of Trans Solutions Research and Resource Center, said, “For me, to be in a position where I can support my younger sisters and brothers and siblings, and be there to support that they need, it’s an amazing feeling.”

Representatives organized the event. They say affirmation plays key role in each person development.

Battles said, “Other sectors of the LGBTQIA+ community, they’ve kind of become the norm, and kind of OK, and it’s like society needs a new person to pick on so to say.”

More than a dozen diverse agencies — with housing assistance, clothing, testing and affirming care — filled the space at Broadway United Methodist Church.

Volunteer Deonyae Valentina said that it’s “super important for communities to come together show the youth and say, ‘We’re here for you.’ And like I said, before you matter.”

Human rights, they say, is at the center of all this work. But, advocates , those rights are called into question with each new piece of legislation.

Aundrea Lacy, the director of programs with Trans Solutions Research and Resource Center, says events like Friday’s only scratch the surface of what’s needed to support the city’s trans community. “Anybody who’s been oppressed should be joining this fight. Because when they start at one community, they’re going to go to the next community, especially anybody of the BIPOC community.”

BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

Lacy adds that looking around at Friday’s event made her heart sing, but she knows it is just a day and the work can’t stop. “Every day for us is visibility day as trans people.”