Nenshi proclaims Trans Day of Visibility

Mayor Naheed Nenshi proclaimed Sunday as Trans Day of Visibility in Calgary, while Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel has announced that March 31 to April 6 will be Transgender Awareness Week.

Move recognizes the struggles of transgender people in Alberta

The Toronto Gay Pride Parade is the biggest celebration of gay and transgender communities in Canada. (Ian Wilms/The Canadian Press)

Calgary and Edmonton are recognizing the struggles facing transgender people in Alberta.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi proclaimed Sunday as the Trans Day of Visibility in Calgary, while Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel has proclaimed March 31 to April 6 as Transgender Awareness Week.

"This is something people do because they don't have a choice," says Leslea Herber, spokeperson for the Trans Equality Society of Alberta.

"This is just another variability of humanity. It's not that we're out there doing wrong."

Nenshi says trans-identified people may face exclusion from society based on a lack of recognition.

According to Statistics Canada, 74 per cent of hate crimes motivated against the victim's sexual orientation were violent, with minor assaults being the most frequent type of violent hate crime.

That proportion is higher than those for violent incidents motivated by race, ethnicity or religion.

"We're just out there trying to be people, trying to live our lives and trying to do so in a way that fits inside of the world," says Herber.

Statistics Canada has no definitive numbers on the size of the trans community in Canada.

However, a 2011 survey conducted for the Williams Institute, a University of California think-tank, suggests that 3.5 per cent of adults in the U.S. identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual and roughly 0.3 per cent identify as transgender.

Those numbers would suggest there are about nine million gay, bisexual and transgender people in the U.S.