Metro Weekly

Trans Visibility Community Festival allows the transgender community to celebrate itself, free of charge

The festival, set for March 31, is more diverse, more inclusive, and more accessible

DCATS

“There aren’t many days that exclusively celebrate the trans community,” says Jamison Crowell, executive director of the DC Area Transmasculine Society. “Trans Pride is usually tacked on to Pride Month, and it’s usually a side event compared to the other events. Then you have the Trans Day of Remembrance, which is important, but is a bit more of a somber event. But since the International Transgender Day of Visibility has taken off, it’s made us stand back and think about what kind of visibility we want.”

Transgender Day of Visibility will officially be celebrated on Sunday, Mar. 31. However, DCATS, Deaf DAWN in D.C., a local organization aimed at ending domestic violence among members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, and local LGBTQ community center Casa Ruby will be holding a Trans Visibility Community Festival on Saturday, Mar. 30 to mark the occasion.

The festival is intended to introduce attendees to a variety of local organizations that either serve the transgender community or are run by trans individuals.

“A lot of trans-specific organizations are priced out of events like Pride,” Crowell says. “Even at Capital Trans Pride, the lowest amount you can buy a table for is $250. For Capital Pride, it gets closer to $400. We wanted to create a space where we could bring these service organizations together and members of the trans community into a space to celebrate visibility, connect trans people with the resources of their community. It’s free to table, free to participate, free to attend. So it’s very similar to what you see at Pride festivals, except it’s more accessible.”

Crowell notes that the festival started out much smaller, but has grown as a larger number of organizations began participating, even forcing organizers to turn people away at the door because they were at full capacity in past years. This year, the festival will be held at Spaces NoMa in Northeast D.C.

The festival will feature food, a raffle, a panel discussion of trans visibility, two open mic sessions featuring multiple performances of five minutes or less, and a series of short film screenings, including films by “America in Transition,” a documentary series looking at social change through the lens of the transgender community, and “My Genderation,” an ongoing film project celebrating trans lives.

“A big part of our event is trying to be more diverse and inclusive,” notes Crowell. “So we want to think about how can we reframe trans visibility to be more inclusive of the full spectrum of the community.”

The Trans Visibility Community Festival is on Saturday, Mar. 30, from 1-5 p.m. at Spaces NoMa, 1140 3rd St. NE. Free and open to the public. Visit www.transvisibilityfestival.com.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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