Posted by – November 20, 2013
Here is this year’s post, which is also up at the Wisconsin Gazette. This was co-authored by Will Van Rosenbeek.
International Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time to reflect on those who have been killed because of transphobia and hate. For those who are transgender, genderqueer or non-binary — and their significant others, friends, family and allies (SOFFAs) — not remembering isn’t even a possibility. Because we know that when we leave the house, or when our loved ones leave the house, there is some chance that some person out there will decide our loved one’s gender is wrong or bad. We know there are people in the world who think that violence will fix their own fears, law enforcement officers who think our lives aren’t important, and courts that think panic is a legitimate reason for murder.
What we’d like to see is a day when we can’t remember the violence committed against people who live their genders despite transphobia, who believe in their own dignity and right to exist. What we’d like is a day when the faces of those who were brutally murdered for being who they are don’t flip through our minds as reminders of the fear we need to live with.
We all have privileges! We may be white, we may be cisgender, we may be educated; we may have money and health insurance and the possibility of getting a job without questions about our genders. Most of the transgender people we remember had few or none of those advantages. Too many of the people who are killed every year are people of color, people who do sex work, people who have to decide between horribly risky work and starving.
For some transgender people, it is just the human desire to have companionship that makes them vulnerable to attacks.
While we remember those murdered, we want to celebrate them too. We see a transgender community filled with beautiful, engaged and joyful people. We see people in love. We see people with careers and jobs and families and hopes. We see people with aspirations and confidence.
What we want to see when we look around the transgender community is a great deal of joy. The kind of joy that comes with victory not just over the transphobic world we live in, but with the internalized transphobia all of us share — transgender and cisgender alike.
Posted by – January 28, 2013
If anyone ever thinks my remains might be in some garbage, please don’t look.
This article is about the most heart-breaking thing I have ever read, and all I could think about was his mom or cousins or whoever it was who loved him reading it. No one should ever have to read anything like this. Ever.
Fuck the haters.
Evon Young, I’m sorry we couldn’t give you a world you were safe in.
Posted by – November 20, 2012
Here’s what I’ve got this year: I want this day to go the fuck away. Not because it’s not valuable and intentional and useful. It is all of those things. It serves a useful function. It helps people understand the very pervasive discrimination trans people are up against.
It’s just that there are all these people I love in my life who happen to be trans and it breaks my heart to see this very real reminder that somehow we are so upset by transness that we allow this kind of violence to persist.
I don’t want to remember someone for being trans and being killed. I want to remember people I miss because I miss something about them – their smile or their voice or their kindness of their love of trains.
But another year passes, and another TDOR comes and goes, and I think instead of all the radical, amazing activists I know who happen to be trans, and of all the amazing artists and musicians and writers I know who happen to be trans, and of all the amazing, boring people living perfectly mundane great lives post transition who no one knows are trans and I think: YES.
So that’s why we have the Transgender Day of Remembrance: to get the attention of all the people out there who don’t realize what the hell is going on out there. For me it is a day to remember why it is I chose this work, or why it chose me, and why I keep choosing it.
Posted by – November 19, 2011
GLAAD today began a series of blog posts about Transgender Day of Remembrance which is being observed on Sunday, November 20.
There is a great list of TDOR events on the official page, created by Ethan St. Pierre: http://www.transgenderdor.org/.
GLAAD Guest post from Stephanie Battaglino: http://www.glaad.org/blog/stephanie-battaglino-what-transgender-day-remembrance-means-me.
GLAAD Guest post from Ja’briel Walthour: http://www.glaad.org/blog/stephanie-battaglino-what-transgender-day-remembrance-means-me.
Info on event in NY hosted by the LGBT Center: http://www.glaad.org/events/tdor2011nyc and in LA: http://www.glaad.org/events/tdor2011weho.
GLAAD resource calling for mainstream media to report on TDOR: www.glaad.org/publications/tdorkit.
I wrote one of these for their series a couple of years ago, and I’m glad to see they’re doing it again.
It seems whenever there’s a profile or personal narrative of a trans person in mainstream media it has to be somehow tragic. And I’m so over it. Because I think we’re amazing.
What a cool and much overdue piece about being trans and not tragic. This kind of idea is what I was trying to get at years ago (7!) when I objected to – or suggested an addition to – the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
But no matter: I’m happy to see a trans person say it.
Posted by – November 20, 2010
& To close this year’s Trasngender Day of Remembrance, a note from Mara Keisling of NCTE on what the day means, why not “tranny,” and what next:
The Day of Remembrance, which we commemorate tomorrow, is a time of mourning for transgender people, a time to honor the lives tragically cut short by another person’s hatred or fears. It is also a time to look at how we can have fewer and fewer deaths to commemorate on this day in years to come.
Each year as I look at the names and faces of those we have lost, they touch me profoundly and they also call me to a renewed commitment to the work ahead of us. We have to use every tool available to us to stem the tide; one of those tools is federal law.
A full year has passed since the passage of the first federal law to offer protections to transgender people-the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. While the law certainly won’t end the problem of hate crimes, it does provide new avenues to address violence when it occurs. For the very first time, the Department of Justice and federal law enforcement officials have been authorized to take action to address the violence that transgender people face. And, while it’s easy to be cynical about the government, there are people in law enforcement who are truly and deeply dedicated to working with us to address the violence.
We’ve been at the table with the FBI and other departments as they’ve worked to update their training programs to include explicit information about gender identity and change the way they record information so we gain vital knowledge about the extent of the problem. I know, paperwork doesn’t seem like it will do anything. There is something very important about seeing the word “transgender” there in the manuals and forms because it means that the federal government is making a record and taking notice of the horrific violence we as a people face. It is information they can use to prosecute a crime and ensure that local law enforcement takes violence against us seriously. It will also help formulate violence prevention programs.
But there’s also something awful about knowing that those forms will record the terror of victims of hate-motivated violence. Law enforcement officers will note down the weapons used, the damage done and the derogatory words that are said to harm a transgender person-someone’s child, or partner, or parent, or loved one.
One of the reasons that we don’t use the word “tranny” at NCTE is because we’ve heard too many stories of violence. We know that when someone hears that word, it often heralds the beginning of an attack. And words matter when we look at hate crimes; the language used is, in fact, part of how we determine if something is a hate crime, because words are one of the weapons used to hurt the target of the violence. Because in a hate crime, damage is done to hearts and spirits as well as to bodies-and sadly, that’s the perpetrator’s point. We hear regularly, especially over the past few weeks, from transgender people who tell us that “tranny” is a word that feels hostile and hurtful to them. We shouldn’t use words that cause pain to others, especially when the word is one that, horrifyingly, transgender people hear as they are being bludgeoned. We have to use our words differently than that.
This week, the Department of Justice brought federal hate crimes charges under the new law for the first time, against white supremists who attacked a developmentally disabled Native American man in New Mexico. Disability was one of the other new categories added to the hate crimes laws, along with gender identity. It is a reminder that violence to any of us hurts all of us.
There are many more cases that are currently in the midst of the legal and investigative processes that have to happen before charges are filed. Each of these cases makes a statement that hate crimes are intolerable and illegal.
But we also have to keep our eye on our goal-ending violence against transgender people. We do this by educating people about the realities of our lives and by asserting our human rights to express who we are and to live in safety. To make this a reality, we have to build a climate of acceptance, free of derogatory words and angry fists, and filled with respect for the differences among us.
Posted by – November 20, 2010
I’m really pleased to see this group of organizations sign on to the same statement. It’s not every day we see any kind of unity in the trans community.
New York, NY, November 19, 2010 – Today the National Center for Transgender Equality, Transgender Law Center, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and the Trevor Project released the following statement regarding Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, 2010:
Today we stand together as one community to remember and honor the lives cut short by anti-transgender intimidation and violence including:
- Amanda González-Andujar of New York, NY
- Ashley Santiago of Puerto Rico
- Dana A. “Chanel” Larkin of Milwaukee, WI
- Angie González Oquendo of Puerto Rico
- Sandy Woulard of Chicago, IL
- Victoria Carmen of Newark, NJ
- Stacy Blahnik Lee of Philadelphia, PA
We also call on mainstream and LGBT media to give voice to transgender people and continue to share stories about the lives of transgender people who inspire understanding and acceptance.
On this day when our community remembers those stories and victims of anti-transgender violence, we are reminded about the power of insults and slurs like “tra**y.” We should not use words that cause pain to others; especially words that transgender people too often hear before they are attacked in anti-transgender hate crimes.
Instead, we urge the LGBT community to speak out for transgender people – about their lives and who they are. Transgender people continue to remain largely invisible in our culture and as a result suffer job losses, discrimination and violence. Together, we must stand united as an LGBT community and allies marching towards an America where people are accepted for who they are.
For resources about transgender issues please visit:
Posted by – November 20, 2010
For this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, I wanted to highlight this story out of Lincoln, NE, and one aspect of it in particular.
For many, the word “transgender” calls to mind the murder of Brandon Teena in Humboldt in 1993, an incident that inspired the 1999 Academy Award-winning film Boys Don’t Cry.
Fast forward almost two decades, however, and services offered at a facility in the same city where Teena was born could have saved his life.
“If Brandon were going through today what he went through back in the early 1990s, he’d still be with us,” says Ryan Sallans, health educator at Lincoln’s Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, 2246 O St. “One of the reasons he left was lack of support in Lincoln.”
The journalist has Jamison Green on record, saying the smart things he is known to say, but honestly, folks: this is progress. This story made me so goddamn happy this year.
Brandon, to you!
I just received some sad news from Michael Munson of FORGE about a local woman who was killed in Milwaukee not even two weeks ago.
Chanel (Dana A. Larkin) was murdered on May 7, 2010. The person who killed her was caught and charged. Chanel was an African-American transwoman who was 26 years old. She was killed in the middle of an exchange of sex for money – shot three times, the fatal shot to her head. It was totally a hate-motivated crime. The person in custody who has admitted to killing her has part of their interaction recorded on his cell phone and the violence definitely ensued after she revealed her trans status.
There was a vigil for her a week ago (5/10/10), a fundraiser to help cover burial costs (5/13/10) and a funeral and burial on Friday (5/14/10).
The funeral was attended by 200-250 people and was rich, kind, respectful, honoring of all aspects of who she was. Her family was there (Grandma is definitely the head of the family and the person she was closest to).
Chanel was an active member/leader in SHEBA (a Milwaukee-based organization for African-American MTFs who have emerged from the gay men’s community — and communities of houses and balls).
You can make a donation to FORGE and indcate how you’d like the funds used.
Here are the two local news reports, both of which suck so bad it’s ridiculous: WTAQ radio, TMJ Channel 4.
Today in my Trans Lives class, it just so happens that we were finishing reading Stone Butch Blues in class and discussing Boys Don’t Cry; it’s the day I usually teach TDOR, its origins, the intersectionality of sex work and race with transphobic violence, disclosure/dating issues, the problems of a hegemonic, violent masculinity based on homophobia, and, of course, the utterly crap way these cases are presented by journalists.
I have to remind myself that I teach this stuff so that it will stop.