Happy Trans Day of Visibility to the FIRST community! The International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual holiday celebrated around the world on March 31st. The day is dedicated to celebrating transgender, nonbinary and gender non-conforming people and their accomplishments, as well as bringing attention to the struggles these communities are still facing.
Visibility can be a funny thing to navigate as a trans person. Some trans people may not have a choice in being ‘visibly’ trans, some may choose to be more open about being trans, and others consider their trans experience very private. As someone who went through FIRST programs when closeted and feeling as if I might be the only trans person in FIRST, to now, choosing to be selective about who or what communities know I am trans, I can attest to having many choices to make concerning my visibility as a trans individual.
For all my trans brothers, sisters, and siblings, there is no wrong path to take when it comes to your own visibility. You may want to tell everyone you’re trans, or you may be at or want to be at a point where you never tell anyone else. You may also, like many transgender people, be somewhere in the middle, or still at a point where you haven’t told anyone. However you feel most comfortable, most authentic, or are safest is the correct choice. There is nobody who can tell you how much visibility is the correct choice.
If you are a cis ally to trans people, it is important for you to respect trans people’s privacy. If a trans person tells you they are trans or you knew someone before they transitioned, don’t share with others unless you have been instructed otherwise. Even if you get questions directly about whether someone is transgender or ‘a boy or a girl.’ If you’re not sure how they would want you to answer those questions, ask when or if they come out to you or politely in a private format.
Whether you are a trans person looking for community or a cis person looking to be a good ally, realize that being transgender is not something you can always see. There are trans students on FIRST teams all over the world and in all four FIRST programs, there are trans mentors and coaches working with FIRST teams, there are trans volunteers at many FIRST events in many different roles. There are trans family members- parents, siblings, even grandparents- attending FIRST events in the stands. Trans people are in FIRST, are supporting FIRST, and are an important part of the FIRST community, no matter how visible we might be.
About LGBTQ+ of FIRST
LGBTQ+ of FIRST is an organization dedicated to raising awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ+ participants in FIRST Robotics. LGBTQ+ of FIRST was started to spread visibility of the LGBTQ+ community within FIRST and help teams become safe spaces for their members.