NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — International Transgender Day of Visibility is a day many are using to raise awareness about the transgender community.

On Wednesday, CBS2’s Cory James spoke with local activists who say it starts with getting your pronouns right.

“My name is Kiara St. James and my pronouns are ‘she,’ ‘her’ and ‘goddess.'”

“I’m Sean Coleman. ‘He,’ ‘him,’ ‘his’ are my pronouns.”

“My name is Kim Watson-Benjamin. My pronouns are ‘she,’ ‘her’ and ‘goddess.'”

Language matters.

That’s the message many are sharing on this 12th year of International Transgender Day of Visibility, which recognizes the men and women living authentically as how they see themselves.

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Throughout the day, virtual events took place on multiple platforms to support trans, non-binary, and gender-conforming people across the world, people like Watson-Benjamin, who says visibility is important.

She told James addressing someone by their pronouns is not only a way to stand in solidarity with the transgender community, but it’s also a sign of respect.

“If you don’t do it you’re adding more trauma to my life. A lot of individuals know the amount of trauma they are adding to other people’s lives. It’s not okay to mispronounce anyone, at all, period,” Watson-Benjamin said.

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According to the Human Rights Commission, trans people experience violence at rates far higher than the average person, and at least 27 trans and gender non-conforming people were violently killed last year, the same number reported in 2019.

Natalie Egan, CEO and founder of Translator Inc., builds diversity software for corporations, schools and non-profits. She said a day like Wednesday gives the trans community the floor to shine light on getting rid of stigmas through education, teaching people the value of pronouns to promote inclusivity.

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One way she does that is by adding her pronouns to her email signature.

“Representation matters. When people say it’s hard for them, I’m like if you think that’s hard, try this, try being your authentic self, especially in this capacity. This is hard. This is hard. Getting my pronouns right is not that hard,” Egan said.

And it can be easy if people create the heart space to learn.

For more transgender resources, please click here, here and here.

Cory James