I dread November for a multitude of reasons. First because I’m one year older, but secondly because it’s also the same month that two of my close friends took their own lives. It’s an annual reminder of those that I’ve lost personally - but this month also holds a deep meaning for my community.
Today is Transgender Day Of Remembrance. On this day, we remember and honour those that have been murdered simply for being trans. We remember all those that have been lost due to discrimination, stigma, exclusion and violence—and also those that have taken their own lives. This year, for me, is particularly difficult as earlier in 2018 a close friend of mine, who was a trans woman, took her own life. I dedicated my book The Trans Teen Survival Guide to her, which was originally a Tumblr site that she created in order to help trans people in need.
This, on top of the relentless and vile media discourse about trans people, is exceptionally taxing and heartbreaking. Almost every day there is an article or an interview where yet again transphobic campaigners are given a platform - regardless of whether they actually have any experience, qualifications or knowledge on trans issues or the topic at hand. It’s almost as if anyone with a negative opinion about trans people magically becomes an expert, and we must all listen to their concerns that are often based on speculative fiction and bad faith.
This misleading discourse is mostly lead by cisgender women (often influential and known women), who often claim they are being silenced while they speak on mainstream TV programmes or radio shows. Some of these transphobic women have aligned with some rather unlikely companions, such as Christian conservatives. (if you don’t believe me, watch this video).
Many have embraced those allies, some of them even throwing their support behind Trump’s planned motion to legally change the definition of sex, effectively legally erasing the existence of trans and intersex people.
But who is it really that is being silenced here? What voices are really lost from this relentless and dehumanising debate?
This year, a crushing number of 369 people were reported murdered for simply being trans. And that’s only the reported cases of murder; which is the tip of the iceberg. Trans people all around the world are victims of horrifying violent crimes, sexual abuse, discrimination, and exclusion from their families and society in general. The victims are predominantly trans women or trans feminine people of colour, migrants and sex workers.
It’s these disenfranchised people that are truly being silenced. It’s those people that don’t have a seat at the table in the production studio of a mainstream media platform. And in turn, it’s those people that suffer the consequences of this relentless transphobia the most.
I want to dedicate this Transgender Day Of Remembrance to all those people that have never had a voice – and to my dear friend Christina L. Bentley, that left us far too soon. None of them will be forgotten, and none of us will ever be erased.
Rest in power.
Fox Fisher is a trans activist and author of The Trans Teen Survival Guide
Useful websites and helplines:
- The Gender Trust supports anyone affected by gender identity | 01527 894 838
- Mermaids offers information, support, friendship and shared experiences for young people with gender identity issues | 0208 1234819
- LGBT Youth Scotland is the largest youth and community-based organisation for LGBT people in Scotland. Text 07786 202 370
- Gires provides information for trans people, their families and professionals who care for them | 01372 801554
- Depend provides support, advice and information for anyone who knows, or is related to, a transsexual person in the UK