11/20/2014 11:55 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

It Gets Better And Gender Proud Honor Transgender Day Of Remembrance

For this year's annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, which memorializes those individuals we've lost to transphobic violence and hate, why not share your own story about how it's gotten better for yourself or other transgender individuals in your life?

As transgender folks are increasingly receiving visibility in mainstream society, the It Gets Better Project and Gender Proud are encouraging you to tell the world how it has gotten better for yourself or those that you love.

Geena Rocero, founder of Gender Proud, has decided to share her own story:

I made the decision to come out on a beach in Mexico, just over one year ago. It was my 30th birthday, and growing older meant letting go of fear. Yet fear is what I faced head on, when I took the TED stage, in March of 2014, to tell the world my truth: that I’m a proud transgender woman.

Telling my truth set me free. The trans community welcomed me with open arms, and with the founding of Gender Proud I got to join the ranks of the illustrious activists and advocates like Sylvia Rviera and Marsha P Johnson, who blazed trails and made no apologies.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is an occasion for and by the community; a 250-person strong vigil in December 1998 symbolized the end of silence in the face of death. For years, trans women and men have faced violence, physical abuse, verbal abuse, discrimination and ostracisation. The stats are overwhelming: the suicide rate amongst the trans community is still nine times higher than the national average. Half of all trans people report experiencing on-the-job bias, and a staggering sixty percent report having been the victim of physical assault or sexual assault.

The murders of Islan Nettles, Angie Zapata and, less than two months ago, Jennifer Laude give human faces to these horrendous statistics.

At the same time, the community is uniting like never before and, in doing so, becoming much more visible. This year alone, in addition to my coming out, Laverne Cox graced the cover of TIME. Janet Mock made headlines when she went head-to-head with Piers Morgan and Martine Rothblatt was named "America’s Highest Paid CEO."

Visibility is the best tool we have to improve trans lives, which is why my organization, Gender Proud, is partnering with It Gets Better to issue a call for video submissions. We want to hear from our audience about why TDoR is important.

To learn more, or submit yours, please visit: www.itgetsbetter.org/submitvideo

This initiative is an attempt to encourage people to live proudly and visibly in their day-to-day lives. As Executive Director of the It Gets Better Project, Ted Farley, noted, "at both Gender Proud and the It Gets Better Project, we focus on using stories to empower people to live safely and openly as their authentic selves... In honoring Trans day of Remembrance, it was important to us to lift up the voices of those in the trans community who wanted to share their own lived experiences and their hopes for a brighter future."

Want to learn more about this collaborative effort from Gender Proud and the It Gets Better project -- and possibly even share your own story? Watch the video above and head here for more information.



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