Triangle residents mark Transgender Visibility Day: 'It doesn't come without consequence'

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- International Transgender Day of Visibility has been recognized for 13 years and honored on March 31 each year. It recognizes the accomplishments of transgender and non-binary people while acknowledging the courage it takes to live openly and authentically.

"It doesn't come without consequence," said Durham resident Vanity Reid Deterville.

From the Sandhills to the Triangle, ABC11 spoke with several transgender people about what this day means to them. M.D. is a 14-year-old Chatham County resident.

"It's about giving a voice to those who don't feel like they have one or feeling like they can't speak out," said M.D. "It's been hard, but my mom has been one of my biggest supporters throughout my entire journey and so have my friends."

President Joe Biden signed a proclamation stating that he and his entire administration sees transgender people for who they are. The State Department has become the first federal government agency to offer the X gender marker on passport applications.

While progress is being made, some argue there's more work to do.

"We've seen many legislative assaults on the transgender community and I think we'll see it again this year, but it's up to us to stay vigilant," said Deterville.

They say because of the representation in media, more children are able to walk in their truth.

"The pronouns we use give us strength. When someone respects my pronouns: they, them, she, which are my pronouns. It shows me they're listening," said Johnston County resident Wendy Ella May. " We stand up, show up, and are accountable for our actions."

Allies have made a difference in all their lives. The support allows them to continue living out loud.

"We can be seen and respected and accomplished. We can do everything we want in life. We just have to find our people," said Durham resident Gray Ellis. "The more we show this is acceptable. This is okay. We are here. I think that's just going to make it even better for future generations."
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