March 31 marks Transgender Day of Visibility around the world. It was founded in 2009 by Rachel Crandall-Crocker, who used a Facebook post to encourage people to celebrate the rights and dignity of transgender people, instead of mourning them. At that time, Transgender Day of Remembrance, which marked the victims of murder, was the only formal day recognizing the community. In 2021, President Joe Biden issued the first-ever presidential proclamation marking Transgender Day of Visibility.
Today, the right-wing culture war that has taken aim at “wokeness,” the right to an abortion, and the teaching of history in schools has also targeted LGBTQ folks, and especially transgender people. There are currently at least 340 state-level legislative attacks on LGBTQ people, according to the Human Rights Campaign; 150 of them are specifically targeting transgender people—the largest number ever.
YES! presents a special roundtable discussion marking Transgender Day of Visibility hosted by Racial Justice and Civil Liberties Editor Sonali Kolhatkar for Rising Up With Sonali. Guests include Carl Charles, senior attorney in the Southern Regional Office of Lambda Legal located in Atlanta, Georgia; Ebony Harper, founder and executive director of California TRANScends; and Maebe A. Girl, a congressional candidate running for California’s 30th Congressional District.
The views expressed here and on Rising Up With Sonali do not necessarily reflect the opinion of YES! Media.
Sonali Kolhatkar joined YES! in summer 2021, building on a long and decorated career in broadcast and print journalism. She is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and host and creator of YES! Presents: Rising Up with Sonali, a nationally syndicated television and radio program airing on Free Speech TV and dozens of independent and community radio stations. She is also Senior Correspondent with the Independent Media Institute’s Economy for All project where she writes a weekly column. She is the author of Rising Up: The Power of Narrative in Pursuing Racial Justice (2023) and Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence (2005). Her forthcoming book is called Talking About Abolition (Seven Stories Press, 2025). Sonali is co-director of the nonprofit group, Afghan Women’s Mission which she helped to co-found in 2000. She has a Master’s in Astronomy from the University of Hawai’i, and two undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. Sonali reflects on “My Journey From Astrophysicist to Radio Host” in her 2014 TEDx talk of the same name.