THE BLOG

Transgender Day Of Remembrance: We Remember Them, Because They Were Known To Us

20/11/2016 11:02
Sparkle

The exact number of trans people killed each year is unknown. The deaths are collated from newspaper and media reports from around the world. What we do know is that being transgender puts your life at risk.

On Thursday 13th October at 10am I was assaulted in a busy town centre, just minutes from where I live. "You f*cking weirdo" yelled aggressively straight at me, followed even more unpleasantly by them spitting directly into my face, then turning around and strolling off. I was left devastated, alone and broken.

However, my fate is nothing compared to what happens to trans people around the world. Just five days earlier in Cleveland, USA, a boy found the body of Brandi Bledsoe. Brandi was found wearing just her underwear, with plastic bags covering her head and her hands. Brandi was a 32 year-old trans-woman of colour, murdered.

Brandi is just one of the many trans people killed throughout the world each year. Each year for TDoR (Transgender Day of Remembrance) we remember them, because they were known to us.
We also need to remember that this is not just about trans women. The entire trans community is becoming more visible in public and in the media. Raising awareness of our existence, our hopes and our rights. In February (2016), a 30 year-old transgender man was stabbed to death in Salford, UK - a death of another trans victim which tore their family apart.

My desire to simply disappear into gender norms is partly fuelled by the hatred some people have for trans people, hatred for me and what I represent.

There is hope. The people who attend TDoR are not just trans people. They are friends, they are family, they are colleagues. Most importantly, they are allies. They don't hate me - they are proud of me. Some of them love me, because I have the courage to be myself, and they are standing in solidarity with us all so that one day the hatred and intolerance trans people suffer at the hands of others in my country and around the world will stop, forever. The people who stand side-by-side with me at TDoR give me hope.

And we need hope. We need hope because trans people are being born every day, you just can't see it. You just don't know it until they realise that sometimes not everyone fits into the gender they were born with.

The recent media attacks on Mermaids, a UK charity offering support to gender variant children and their families, has devastated lives. Hatred and bigotry is learnt behaviour - and where better to learn this from than the headlines of a national newspaper? With a little knowledge and a lot of ignorance you can do untold damage to, not just young people's lives, but their relatives too.

I thought we were making progress, but now parents fearful of what their trans children are saying to them about their gender identity, and these parents are too frightened to help their sons and daughters for what it might say about them. Child abuse? No, the only abuse is to do nothing, to not want your offspring to live, happy and fulfilled lives.

We must change the rhetoric. Gender dysphoria, the medical term for being trans is literally killing people - through suicides and murder - and it doesn't have to be this way. The solution is simple. Let trans people live their lives in the gender they identify as, and treat them like any other person, with respect and dignity.

After all, trans people are human beings too.

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