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Could the nation’s airports be the next pressure points in the government shutdown? Also on our Monday rundown: Calls go out to improve food safety; and a new report renews calls for solutions to Detroit’s water woes.

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Media Blitz for International Transgender Day of Visibility

Activists are blogging and taking to the airwaves and social media to promote International Transgender Day of Visibility. (Meggan Sommerville)
Activists are blogging and taking to the airwaves and social media to promote International Transgender Day of Visibility. (Meggan Sommerville)
March 30, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - There's a big push on social media this week for those in the transgender community to come forward. Thursday is International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Blogger and activist Meggan Sommerville says it's also a day to ask their friends and coworkers to help champion their case for acceptance.

She says transgender people are still bullied, abused, harassed and hated, and recent action by lawmakers in some states has not helped. She's calling for federal legislation to end discrimination.

"Say, 'Hey look, we respect everyone's individual choices to live their life authentically. You, as a company, can not discriminate based on your either religious views, moral views, or whatever," says Sommerville.

Indiana lawmakers approved a controversial religious freedom law last year, then had to revise it because of public outcry over its potential for discrimination.

Missouri lawmakers are considering a similar one. Elsewhere, Georgia's governor vetoed a religious freedom law in that state this week.

In North Carolina, a lawsuit has been filed against the governor and state officials over legislation that says people have to use a public restroom based on the gender they were born with, not the one they identify with.

Sommerville says the idea is to empower people on this day of visibility.

"We have to make our voices heard," she says. "And every transgender person that transitions within their workplace and has the courage to step up and be visible, is going to help change the world around them."

Sommerville says small changes will have a ripple effect, and eventually lead to acceptance.

She sums up their hopes this way.

"Accept us for who we are, love us for who we are, and y'know, you may not understand us, you may not get it, but have the decency to respect us," Sommerville says.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD