Friday marks International Transgender Day of Visibility

Minnesotans on Friday are celebrating the state’s transgender residents.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and City Council President Andrea Jenkins have declared Friday, March 31 as International Transgender Day of Visibility in Minneapolis.

The holiday was founded in 2009 in response to the lack of holidays celebrating transgender people’s achievements.

Minneapolis says it was the first city in the country to ban gender-based discrimination through amendments to the Civil Rights Ordinance in 1975. It was also the first in the country to elect a black, transgender woman as City Council President. Minneapolis Council President Andrea Jenkins was elected to office in 2017 in a historic vote.

“As the only Black Trans woman elected to public office in the United States, I want to say Happy Transgender Day of Visibility,” Minneapolis Council President Andrea Jenkins said in a statement. “At a time when the transgender community, especially our young people, are experiencing deep pain from having our rights jeopardized by legislatures across the country, I am proud to say the City of Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota is a welcoming community that will see you, respect you, and honor your right to live and be treated with dignity and respect.”

In response to growing trends across the nation regarding access to gender-affirming care, Frey signed an executive order in December 2022 making Minnesota a safe haven for anyone seeking gender-affirming care.

Additionally, the Minnesota House recently passed a bill aiming to make Minnesota a “trans refuge state.” Representative Leigh Finke (DFL-St. Paul), the bill’s chief author, says the measure is meant to protect transgender people, their families, and health care providers from legal repercussions if they travel to Minnesota to get gender-affirming care.

RELATED: House passes bill that makes Minnesota a ‘trans refuge state’

Finke is the first openly transgender person to serve in the Minnesota Legislature. A similar bill is making its way through the Senate.

In St. Paul, transgender people and allies are taking action at the State Capitol Building against transphobic violence, according to a press release from the Trans Movement for Liberation (TM4L).

At 5:30 p.m. on Friday, the TM4L and supporters will call on legislators to demand action for transgender rights.