Trans Vermonters spotlight International Trans Day of Visibility

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 5:37 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermonters all over the state took part Friday in the Trans Day of Visibility, a worldwide series of events to help build support for transgender rights. It comes at a time when many U.S. states have become increasingly hostile to trans rights.

There were chants and cheers on the Statehouse steps in Montpelier as part of a speak-out hosted by more than 250 youths from across the state. They urged people to listen to their stories and respect their decisions about their bodies and identity. It’s a message Representative Taylor Small, Vermont’s first transgender lawmaker, says is important for people to hear, especially as other states propose and pass legislation aimed at curbing trans rights.

“Visibility allows us to know that trans people exist, and that then pushes us to start thinking about the rights and protections that are being taken away in so many states but should really be afforded and where we’re moving in the state of Vermont to ensure those protections,” Small said. “We are your neighbors, we are your friends, we are your loved ones. And I think what folks don’t necessarily understand about trans identities is that it isn’t about anyone other than ourselves and being able to feel that love and authenticity.”

In Burlington, City Hall flew the trans flag and officials distributed signs that merchants posted in their windows along Church Street signaling acceptance for all trans people.

“We all want people to know that they are welcome in the stores on Church Street and here in Burlington,” said Kelly Darling with the Catamount Store. She says the business is part of the University of Vermont and they’re happy to be part of helping make people feel included. “I think as a small business here in Vermont, we want to make people of all backgrounds feel welcome.”

Frog Hollow was among the organizations that posted signs. “It’s, I think, an important thing to put out there that we should be aware of this visibility. And I don’t think it’s a thing that’s going away -- that sign -- now that we’ve got it, we’re going to just leave it up,” said the gallery’s Daniel Zeese. “I think it’s important that we not only represent the community within this gallery but the community across the state.”

The House Friday also approved a resolution affirming support for Vermont’s trans community and denouncing anti-trans legislation in other states.