Wenatchee Valley Community Gathers for Trans Day of Visibility at Memorial Park
A crowd gathered at Memorial Park to celebrate Trans Day of Visibility Friday.
International Trans Day of Visibility was created by Michigan-based transgender activist Rachel Crandall-Crocker on March 31, 2009.
This event was created a decade after the Trans Day of Remembrance, which honors trans people who either died or were killed. Crandall-Crocker created this event to share the positive aspects of being trans.
“There's so much joy and happiness and liberation in our community for trans people that we want to make sure that we have the opportunity to celebrate that and to bring people together,” Wenatchee Pride Treasurer Catherine Houser said. “To ensure that our trans folks in the community know that we're here for them, we stand by them, we support them, and we want them to live long, happy lives.”
Eastmont High School students Auds, Ell, and Wenatchee Pride’s Youth Representative Leo Perry were inspired to create their own Trans Day of Visibility event.
Wenatchee Pride President Lincoln Nere shared his experience growing up as a trans man in Oklahoma and shed tears as he recalled friends who currently do not have access to gender-affirming healthcare.
“I have queer and trans friends who just lost their right to healthcare and HRT and they’re looking at different states to move to because they need to stay alive,” Nere said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines gender-affirming care as “a range of social, psychological, behavioral, and medical interventions ‘designed to support and affirm an individual’s gender identity’ when it conflicts with the gender they were assigned at birth.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is currently tracking approximately 435 anti-LGBTQ bills that were introduced in multiple state legislatures.
Houser said that being trans is an identity and not a mental health diagnosis, and that the suicide rate for trans youth is incredibly high due to bigotry and transphobia.
“That's in part because of families that reject their identity and don't make gender-affirming care available in whatever form or fashion or because gender-affirming care and gender affirming community isn't available to them.”
According to the Trevor Project, roughly 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicide, and more than half for transgender and nonbinary youth.
Houser clarifies that those arguing over genital reassignment surgery for trans youth don’t fully understand what gender-affirming care is.
“I think the focus on surgery before the age of 18 is completely misplaced and honestly it doesn't affect anyone else besides that person who wants to undergo that surgery,” Houser later added. “We're not here to push any underlying agenda, we just want to live, be happy, joyful, and exist.”
Dylan Spradling said that he realized he was a man at 12 years old but did not come out as a trans man until a decade later.
“When I was 12, I had never met a transgender person,” Spradling shared. “The only experience I had as a transgender man was a tabloid picture of Chaz Bono. I had no information, no resources, and I was just sunk in invisibility.”
Spradling said the amount of representation and educational resources for trans people has greatly increased since his childhood.
“Having information, visibility, opportunity to ask questions and opportunity to receive affirming care saves lives,” Spradling said. “It makes life possible for people and it certainly doesn't hurt anybody.”
Sunnyslope Church Pastor Dane said that as an openly queer pastor, he came to this event to support his trans and nonbinary siblings.
“I'm quite disturbed about what's happening in the country and I want to show as much support and love as possible,” Breslan said.
Breslan said those who use Christian rhetoric to marginalize trans people are missing the point of Jesus Christ’s teachings.
“In many ways, I think queer people are the people in our culture, specifically trans women of color, [who] are actively being crucified by our culture,” Breslan said. “So if we're looking for Christ in the world now, it is with those people. That is where we're going to see the Christ consciousness most present.”
There are over 1.6 million individuals 13 years and older who identify as transgender in the United States.