Arkivi i Lëvizjes LGBTI+ në Kosovë

The power of being trans

April 4, 2024

The story of how International Transgender Day of Visibility came to be.

In the quiet space of their Michigan home, seated side by side on their couch, Rachel and Susan shared their remarkable life story with CEL Kosovo, and shedding light on the transformative initiative which is now celebrated worldwide which is the International Transgender Day of Visibility. 

For Rachel, the journey started with a simple idea, a spark of inspiration that ignited a global movement. Rachel, the visionary behind the International Transgender Day of Visibility, reminisced about the pivotal moments that led her to create this iconic day. “I wanted a day when we can focus on the wonderfulness of being alive and trans,” Rachel explained. Her desire to celebrate life and visibility resonated deeply, creating a movement that would spread hope and empowerment worldwide.

Rachel’s life story weaves together her personal challenges and her work for change. 

In the year of 1978, at the tender age of eight, Rachel came out to her parents as trans, which was followed with heavy feedback, guilt, and discomfort. Later years spent in the shadows of societal shame, Rachel’s journey was marked by resilience and self-discovery “I went from a shameful person to such a proud person,” Rachel reflects. Despite the hurdles, she stayed strong. 

When she was asked, what would you tell your 8 years old self, with the things you know now, Rachel responded with a beautiful and heartwarming answer “I would say  it’s going to be okay. I would say it will pay off and the best thing is that it will pay off all around the world” referring to the impact that the International Transgender day of Visibility has all around the globe. 

Coming out is a challenge which is passed by a self-discovery journey filled with emotions. Susan emphasizes that “Everybody has to come out in the way they are comfortable coming out.” This tells that everyone has their coming out story, Susan adds that  “No two stories are the same.”

Discrimination and learning disabilities (battling with tourette syndrome) were other obstacles Rachel faced, but she tackled them all with unwavering determination. “I’m not perfect, but still, I’m a fighter, a starter, and a leader. You don’t have to be perfect to change the world” Rachel declared, her voice filled with conviction.

Despite setbacks and hardships, Rachel emerged not as a victim but as a hero, embracing her identity with pride.

As Rachel and Susan shared their journey, it became evident that their partnership was the heart and soul of their advocacy work. Rachel, the dreamer with boundless ideas, found her perfect complement in Susan, the practical force that brought those dreams to life. Together, they embarked on a mission to make the world a more inclusive and accepting place for the transgender community.

In order to make the International Transgender Day of Visibility more visible they embarked on a grassroots campaign, reaching out to organizations and activists across the globe. “I messaged everyone, saying ‘Hey, I’m doing this, are you interested?'” Rachel recalls. What started as a small initiative quickly snowballed into a global movement, spreading hope and visibility to transgender individuals worldwide.

Through their advocacy work and the establishment of International Transgender Day of Visibility,, Rachel and Susan hope to leave behind a legacy of empowerment and possibility. “I want to leave the legacy that anything is possible,” Rachel asserts. “If I did it, anyone in Kosovo can.”

Theirs is a love story woven with threads of resilience, support, and unwavering devotion. “I want to be known that I love her so much, I love my Susan,” Rachel declared, her eyes shining with affection. 

In the end, Rachel shared her heartfelt gratitude and love for all those who have supported her on this journey. Her journey serves as a reminder that even in the face of adversity, there is always hope. Through her courage and resilience, she has not only changed the world but inspired countless others to do the same.

In celebrating International Transgender Day of Visibility, we honor the love, resilience, and courage of individuals like Rachel and Susan. As we embrace their journey, let us be inspired to create a world where love knows no bounds, and visibility of being Trans shines bright for all to see.

CEL Kosova shares gratitude with Rachel and Susan for sharing their story with us.