SEATTLE - Cities around the world marked March 31st as the Day of Visibility, celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by the transgender community.
The Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle is a place where the LGBTQ community feels safe and accepted and on the Day of Visibility the Ingersoll Gender Center facilitated conversations around issues impacting the trans community.
The sounds of Capitol Hill are as vibrant as the colors of the pride flag hanging in windows around this neighborhood.
The diversity is part of the identity here, but not everyone feels safe to be who they are.
"Not every trans person gets to be visible,” said Karter Booher, the executive director of the Ingersoll Gender Center.
The Day of Visibility event in Seattle was about bringing the trans community together to learn about resources available to them through the Ingersoll Gender Center, the oldest trans organization in the country.
"Some folks don’t feel safe coming out at work, getting access to health care, we have a housing crisis in this city and trans people, in particular trans women are experiencing it, we’re here to help all those people,” said Booher.
Booher says in our state there are a lot of measures in place, like the most recent law banning conversion therapy, and laws already there protecting the LGBTQ community from discrimination in the workplace, public accommodations, marriage, adoptions among other things. Booher says all of those laws help trans people feel more visible and safe.
"As people understand it’s human, it’s diverse, it’s not pathology and it’s not sickness, then the whole discussion becomes easier and we progress,” said Marsha Botzer, founder of the Ingersoll Center.
The progress on Capitol Hill may seem visible, but this neighborhood also had the highest rate of hate crimes against LGBTQ people in 2017, 22 incidents.
"Often times when we talk about trans people, the media is only talking about the violence, or the barriers that folks experience, which is very real, but there are also trans people that are happy and active in the community and all those things are important,” said Booher.
The trans community says Seattle has taken a lot of steps forward to make them feel accepted but with the recent military ban, nationally they say there is still a long way to go.