Pat Manuel wrote on Trans Day of Visibility that he hoped such awareness days would become obsolete during his lifetime | Sye Williams/Getty Images

Transgender Day of Visibility remains a necessity,” wrote boxer Patricio Manuel in his Instagram post to mark the annual awareness day Sunday. 

“To my trans siblings, whether your visibility is known in the public or just in the privacy of your own mind, don’t let someone’s ignorance invalidate your existence.”

What was also much needed on this particular TDOV — the 15th anniversary of its origin in Michigan — was some information and context to counter the ignorance that surrounded it, which was even greater than in previous years.

That was explained in a note added at the end of his post by Manuel, who was Outsports’ Transgender Athlete of 2023. He addressed the claim that the celebration of TDOV was intended as an affront to Easter, which happened to be on the same day.

“For the last 15 years, it has been on March 31 and as Easter isn’t on a fixed day, it just lines up…”

This alignment of the age-old religious holiday with the relatively new celebration of the trans and nonbinary communities became a source of ammunition for a lot of social media potshots.

It all began to stir Friday, when the White House published a proclamation from President Joe Biden that sent “a message to all transgender Americans. You are loved. You are heard. You are understood. You belong.

“You are America, and my entire Administration and I have your back.”

It was the fourth consecutive year that Biden had officially approved a TDOV edict, and for good reason. A 2022 study by Williams Institute researchers estimated that around 1.6 million people in the United States aged 13 or over identify as transgender.

According to the Trans Legislation Tracker, 15 anti-trans bills have been passed by states so far in 2024, and over 500 are being considered.

Amid the manufactured brouhaha that swelled over the weekend, Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac walked back a tweet in which he wrote people “should be angry” about the White House recognizing TDOV.

Having later been informed about the Biden proclamations in previous years, the 26-year-old quote tweeted himself with what he called a “good faith retraction” (albeit with a reference to “sin” in the same post).

There was also an athlete controversy in Australia where Samantha Wallace-Joseph, who plays Super Netball for the New South Wales Swifts, “caused understandable hurt to members of the transgender community” with her Instagram posts on TDOV, according to a statement of rebuke by her own club.

Still, there were signs of empowerment around sports for fans from gender-diverse communities and their many allies.

Manuel’s fellow trans and nonbinary athletes Schuyler Bailar, Noa-Lynn van Leuven, Charlie Martin, Cal Calamia and Chris Mosier were among those putting out supportive and educational posts.

As for pro leagues and teams, there were encouraging signs of solidarity there too and in most instances — entirely reasonably — their social strategies allowed for both TDOV and Easter to be celebrated!

“Happy Trans Day of Visibility. Thank you for being a vital part of our NWSL community!” said the official accounts of the elite women’s soccer division.

Its member clubs San Diego Wave, Seattle Reign (with Canada international Quinn, who identifies trans and nonbinary, in their squad), Washington Spirit, Angel City FC and Orlando Pride also marked TDOV on socials.

In men’s soccer, LAFC, Seattle Sounders and Minnesota United were three MLS clubs who did the same.

Meanwhile over in England, players from Sheffield Wednesday (who are in the second-tier EFL Championship) warmed up in “Football v Transphobia” T-shirts before their home game Friday, a first for the anti-discrimination campaign at that level.

The activation was in conjunction with Rainbow Owls, the Yorkshire club’s LGBTQ and allies fan group.

German club St Pauli FC, which has a long tradition of LGBTQ inclusion, was another soccer team to get involved. 

Also taking part in TDOV awareness-raising on their official accounts were WNBA teams Minnesota Lynx, the Las Vegas Aces and others, plus English rugby league club Keighley Cougars.

Why does all this activity matter? It’s summed up by Outsports’ Karleigh Webb in her own “pep talk” piece.

“Allyship means being at the front,” she wrote. “That’s the support I want to see out there. It’s the support we need now.

“It’s the team spirit to stand up to those who want to try to lock the games we’ve all worked so hard to open.”

This TDOV, opportunists attempted to clamp down on the trans community’s celebratory day, and even cut allyship out of the national picture. 

The next time the annual awareness day is due to fall on Easter Sunday is in 2086. Until then, let’s try to imagine a future in which people aren’t pitted against each other because of their identity and their faith.

You know, the kind of togetherness we often find in… sports. Maybe we’ve been onto something all along.