March 31 marked International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day during which transgender people celebrate their lives boldly and unapologetically and work to counteract years of erasure. Some do so by putting their faces on social media, announcing their proud existence to the world with the #TransDayofVisibility hashtag.
What really stands out to me about these selfies are the messages that come with them. Messages such as "I'm here" and "my existence is valid" are messages that reject the ways in which trans lives have been misunderstood and undervalued. I can only imagine how validating these messages and selfies must be for trans people who are struggling to live visibly.
Visibility may seem like a small step in helping the transgender movement, but according to Trans Student Educational Resources, "with more visibility comes more understanding." That's why a day such as this, in which transgender people are celebrating themselves publicly, is incredibly important. What better way to celebrate your existence than with a selfie that declares: "I'm here!"
Bustle spoke with Ahya, a trans woman and LGBT advocate, on what TDoV meant to her. "TDoV is every day for me," she said in a message. "To be unapologetic in my truth is revolutionary. Today is a day to honor those who want to be visible. However we still honor those who do not participate. And affirm them. So I think TDoV is a constant action of revolution. You change paradigms by simply existing. What a super power!?"
Here are just a few of my favorite selfies from today. Visit #TransDayofVisibility to add your own selfie, show your support, and learn more about why visibility is important.