Orlando issues proclamation for International Transgender Day of Visibility

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Orlando – Leaders of the LGBT and transgender community gathered in Downtown Orlando to celebrate a day of support and awareness for transgender individuals everywhere. A ceremony was held in the Orlando City Hall Rotunda on March 31 to celebrate the annual International Transgender Day of Visibility.

City commissioner Patty Sheehan presented the proclamation and Orlando LGBT organizations present included The GBLT Center of Central Florida, Zebra Coalition and MBA Orlando. Randy Stephens, executive director of The Center, said events like these allow for a better knowledge and understanding of the transgender community for all.

“The transgender community is part of the fabric that makes up the LGBT community, but they don’t always get the acknowledgment and recognition they deserve,” Stephens said.

The Center flew both the American flag and transgender flag for the day, where normally they fly the American and a rainbow flag, Stephens said. The Center also has three support groups in order to serve the needs of these individuals better and to educate the rest of the LGBT community.

Gina Duncan, a transgender diversity and inclusion trainer, emphasized the importance of education to cast aside any misunderstandings and to disperse the fear that is present within the transgender community to be truthful with themselves.

“The only way we’re going to make any progress is through people understanding the transgender journey,” Duncan said.

Only two other transgender individuals were present at the event besides Duncan. She said that shows there is still work to do and called the proclamation “a first step.”

“That’s the challenge we face, in that the community has a long way to go in reference to trust,” Duncan said. “Without education, people won’t be able to readily embrace transgender people.”

The day, which began as a Facebook event, was started by Michigan transgender activist Rachel Crandall in 2009, and it has grown to be an international day of celebration and dedication to transgender individuals globally.

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