CELEBRATING TRANS DAY OF VISIBILITY WITH CHELLA MAN AND NOMI RUIZ
APRIL 2 2021
by TAYLOR CHICK
COURTESY of VARIOUS
Transgender artists and creators have always existed and have been an essential part of the art and culture world. However, International Trans Day of Visibility wasn’t created until 2010, which very few people even know about, and that means we have a lot of time to make up for. This year, we had the pleasure to speak with Nomi Ruiz and Chella Man, two trans artists who have fiercely claimed their identities and contributed significantly to art and culture.
Trans Day of Visibility is largely about taking the time to educate yourself on trans identities and issues, to deeply acknowledge the struggle and oppression trans people experience, but also to honor their accomplishments and beautiful existence.
“This day for me is more about our allies,” said Nomi Ruiz, musician, author, actress, and producer. “It's time for our allies to shine a light on our community and educate others because to a certain extent, it's really not our responsibility anymore. It's not our job to continue to try to educate people about who we are. It's time for us to live our lives and exist.”
While Trans Day of Visibility is an opportunity to educate yourself and empower trans voices, it also should extend farther than just one day.
“I celebrate Trans Day of Visibility every day,” said Chella Man, artist, author, and designer. “In my own life, I have surrounded myself with a lot of trans people and very much sit with the beauty of being trans and how fucking resilient and strong we are. In terms of other people, I would say, educate yourself, and that is not condescending. Just take a few moments out of your day and Google those questions that you really want to ask a trans person but are scared to.”
Chella urges those outside of the trans community to deeply reflect on their views and perceptions of the trans community.
“Beyond that, ask yourself how you see trans people? Can you see trans people beyond the label? Can you see them for their compassion, their kindness, their empathy? And ask yourself what kind of media are you consuming? Who are you following? Are you connected to any trans people? All those things are good questions to be asking yourself every day.”
As for Nomi Ruiz, she has contributed to art through a wide variety of mediums, one of her most recognized projects was her first Jessica 6 record.
Nomi Ruiz by Pedro Quintana
“In my own life, I have surrounded myself with a lot of trans people and very much sit with the beauty of being trans and how fucking resilient and strong we are.”