On Friday, March 31, people around the world will observe the International Transgender Day of Visibility, dedicated to celebrating trans people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by trans people worldwide.
Globally, the LGBTIQA+ community needs our support. Uganda recently passed a measure to make it a crime to identify as LGBTIQA+. Closer to home in the United States, 29 states have failed to pass laws that protect gay and transgender workers.
This day is especially meaningful for me as member of the LGBTIQA+ community, a leader at BCLC and, most importantly, as a parent. I have always raised my kid to feel empowered to be their true self. But as a parent, I fear society’s judgment.
Transgenderism is so misunderstood — many times, much of what is thought about it is not out of hatred, but ignorance, which leads to fear and loathing. It is not simple and there are so many nuances.
I encourage our community members and other business leaders to educate themselves about sex and gender identity and to listen to LGBTIQA+ voices with an open mind. Defend your LGBTIQA+ friends and colleagues against discrimination.
Confront your own prejudices and bias, even if it is uncomfortable to do so. Believe that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect.
While we have made progress, it is speaking up, challenging one’s own discomfort and taking action to create interpersonal, societal and institutional change that will become the catalyst for everyone to deservedly feel like they belong.
Belonging is a human right.
Peter ter Weeme