Community leaders from all over Southwest Florida gathered in Centennial Park Saturday afternoon in honor of Transgender Day of Visibility. The goal; to celebrate the accomplishments of members of the transgender community. That is what organizer Ezra Galen aimed for when he organized the rally.
After attending a conference, Galen realized there were no events to celebrate the accomplishments of transgender individuals in Southwest Florida. He decided to plan an event that would do just that.
“Visibility is important because we need to make sure that our community is loud and proud of who they are”, Galen told Four in Your Corner. The event featured a range of speakers, many of them sharing their experiences of coming out as transgender.
One of those people was Alanis Garcia. Garcia is a transgender woman who says she came out in 2013. Garcia told Fox 4 that four years, she felt as if she was not being honest with herself and the people around her. That all changed when she admitted her feelings publicly.
“I didn’t feel like I had to hide anymore, I felt like I was able to talk to myself."
It's true that Garcia is no longer hidden. She has chosen to take her message to a public platform by running for the Florida House of Representatives.
Garcia's announcement is exactly the kind of visibility the event was supposed to encourage. The hope is that other members of the transgender community will feel motivated to taker similar action fro themselves and their community's.
“Even if you’re afraid, its ok, you’ve got allies and you’ve got people that are sitting with you and that stand beside you."