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Hartford community shares importance of Transgender Day of Visibility

"It gives us a reason to talk about it, to see one another and to say 'I love you; you're beautiful and beautifully created.'"

HARTFORD, Conn. — 2021 was one of the deadliest years for transgender and gender non-conforming people, with the majority of those killed being Black and Latinx transgender women, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. This is why a day like International Transgender Day of Visibility is essential to the community. 

Rev. Aaron Miller of Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford explained that before the day was recognized in 2009, the only day the transgender community had was the Transgender Day of Remembrance. 

"Transgender Day of Remembrance was to honor and mourn the loss and murders of those in our community," explained Miller. "So this is to lift the living and celebrate the lives of transgender people." 

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Miller stressed how important this day is for the community. He shared that he transitioned 13 years ago and said there weren't any visible resources for him then. However, he said the Day of Visibility emphasizes how resources are becoming more readily available to the community. 

"It gives us a reason to talk about it, to see one another and to say 'I love you; you're beautiful and beautifully created,'" said Miller, and added, "We want to be seen and heard."

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Dr. Richard Stillson is a psychologist and works primarily with transgender and non-binary individuals on their gender journeys. Stillson agreed with Rev. Miller and said celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility amplifies and recognizes the struggles the trans community faces.

"It's so important for us to do it safely, be supported, and have allies have our back," explained Stillson. 

Stillson said it takes courage for LGBTQ+ people to be their authentic selves. And despite the anti-gay laws being passed in the southern states, he said we must note how far we've come and how far we have left to go to create unity, exposure, and connections for the future. 

"We come together and learn from one another and support one another we can affect change," explained Stillson.

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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