Transgender Day Of Remembrance

Gentle Reader, November 20 was the Transgender Day of Remembrance. I was hoping strongly, when I got home from work, to see a number of posts across social media from my friends on the topic, and I was disappointed – a handful mentioned it. Myself? I did, and I shared a few articles, a few memes on the subject – but nowhere could I find a comprehensive list of transgender murder victims over the last year – the people we’re lighting candles for, and supposed to be remembering, honoring, and in whose memories we are purportedly working.

I find that appalling. I’m not that blogger, and I don’t have the slightest idea of where to begin to compile such a list. But it’s not an original idea – lists exist for 2012 and 2013 – and I would have liked to read a small profile on each victim, each death, and how their families and loved ones are coping in the aftermath. 

At any rate, Gentle Reader, here’s my piece from a year ago. My knowledge and views have grown since I wrote this – as I would hope they would over the course of a year! – but it still seems poignant. Educate yourselves, and educate your friends, your associates, your loved ones and acquaintances. It’s important. Lives may, in fact, be saved. 

 

Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, Gentle Reader, during which we remember and mourn the hundreds of human beings who were brutally murdered for being true to themselves. This violence occurs daily, and death is frequently the result.

Trans1

It’s frequently asserted that lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals ignore the transgender in LGBT. It’s true, too – and worse than just ignoring our allies, a lot of the hate directed at transfolk comes from the L, G, and B. It’s appalling – only this year, in America, was transgender included in the wording of ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has continually failed since it was first introduced, years ago. Not being fired is an important right, and I’m glad that folks in the community are starting to grudgingly pay attention to our transgender friends, but I’m pretty sure that not living in fear of being brutally murdered is something that should also be addressed.

A lot of cisgender† people are confused about the very concept of being transgender; I have to admit that, being cis myself, I can’t answer that question with any degree of authority or accuracy. I’ve never had those experiences; I don’t know what that struggle is like. All I can do is empathize, based on my own experiences, and do my best to be a good ally – to take what the trans community says at face value, treat them with respect, and try to be a good ally. This doesn’t mean that I won’t get things wrong – I know for a fact that I will – but I can do my best to get things right, and apologize when I fuck up. Sometimes, though, that isn’t good enough.

Trans2

For example, in my most recent relationship, my partner came out to me as trans. I was taken by surprise, and I tried to be supportive – but I know I frequently misgendered her during the process. There were some other issues going on with the relationship, but I can see now that while I was being supportive, I was going about it in entirely the wrong way. I was still trying to impose my worldview on hers. I’m sorry, my dear; I’ve educated myself since then.

Or there’s the time when my cousin M. came to an art show that I had a piece in. She had come out to the family as trans* after Grandpa passed – I was so proud of her! At this point, I had educated myself quite a bit more about the trans* community and deemed myself a better ally. Nevertheless, despite M. presenting as female, and my knowledge and respect of her journey, I still slipped up a few times, misgendering her as well. She calmly corrected me, with a smile, and waved it away with a flick of her wrist, but I know that it’s something she has to deal with every day, and if I, a purported ally, still slip up, what hope is there? Sorry, darling, and thank you for understanding.

Ver1

The founder of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, Gwendolyn Ann Smith, wrote an article today, which was featured on the Huffington Post. She has this to say:

“Anyone can potentially fall victim to anti-transgender violence. Transgender-identified people and others whose gender identity or expression does not fit the typical binary are who you may think of first, but anyone who is perceived as not being “masculine” or “feminine” enough for their attackers is at risk.

Cases of anti-transgender violence have affected people of all ages, from newborn to elderly, and go across all sexual identities, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. There’s no “magical” way to be protected from anti-transgender violence.”

Members of the Gay, Lesbian and Transgen

I’m not sure what I think about that. At face value, I think that it’s absolutely true, that cisgender people suffer anti-trans* violence, in the same way a young straight boy who lisps will probably suffer anti-gay violence. Despite the fact that I can absolutely see her point as true, I worry that she only mentions this because the rest of the community largely doesn’t care what happens to transfolk. She’s casting her net more widely, telling us that it can happen to us, to get our attention piqued. That’s my fear, anyway.

Gentle Reader, we all need to be there for each other, and support equality for all. I know this post is long-winded and a little disjointed, but I hope I’ve made you question yourself, or the world, just a little. Let’s take a moment to contemplate the deaths of all those who died such tragic, unnecessary, deaths, and to try to make the world a more understanding place.

*********

*A special note, here, G.R. – the term “trans*” typically includes an asterisk at the end, so for purposes of this post, the asterisk does not refer to a footnote. Well, except for this. Damn. You get the idea.

†Cisgender is the state of having your genitals match your identity. I should note that Cis and Trans* are not opposite poles of a binary system, or even goalposts on a spectrum, they’re just two of the more common gender markers.

Also, the cute drawing about pronouns comes from here, and I don’t own it. NSFW, probably.

About Ty DeLyte

Madame DeLyte has suffered a grave disappointment - YET AGAIN - and still believes that freedom, beauty, and truth are what's valuable, rather than vulgar cash. He'd add love to that list - but, well, what can he say about love?
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9 Responses to Transgender Day Of Remembrance

  1. Reanna Perez says:

    One of my best friends (wow, not used in the traditional context of excusing language, but literally one of my closest friends since the age of 11) is a transwoman living in one of the most transphobic cities in the US. All the articles I read today just made me want to hop a plane and steal her away. Another person I love dearly is a closeted transwoman and I am regularly torn between encouraging her to come out and wanting to hide her in the closet forever to protect her. It’s an awful thought that I am quite ashamed of. Nobody should encourage someone else to hide who they are, and so I obviously don’t share that fear, but it exists and today my mother hen instinct is on high alert.

    As far as misgendering people. I am guilty of doing it even 15 years after my friend began hrt. “Gender = biological sex” is so hammered into our head every day. Everytime it happens (rare, though it is) I want to crawl into a hole and die.

  2. Tyler J. Yoder says:

    You know, I’ve always thought that people have a responsibility to be out, because the more visibility there is the less awful it is for *everyone* – but at the same time, I completely understand the protective urge, the fear, that keeps people closeted.

    Thank you for reassuring me about misgendering – I mean, I feel vile when I do it, but it’s inadvertent and at least I’m not alone, I guess? I don’t know where I’m going with this; I’ve just conflicted myself something fierce.

  3. mary says:

    I love you Tyler<3

  4. cptmashek says:

    Oh, I love you Tyler! I have sat here for the last ten minutes (or about there) trying to think of something more to say, while tears threaten to break through my determined, but feeble, attempt at stoicism. My words are failing, I am afraid.

    The majority of the derogatory things I have heard have come from the L, G and B of the community. Funny enough, the most encouraging things I have heard have also come from them. Recently, I went to a group, and felt quite alienated. Not by the L, G and B, or even the cis supporters, but by a clique of fellow transwomen. It is devastating to go to an LGBT meeting and feel even worse than when one comes out to their cis-friends and family. Or even out on the Internet.

    After reading the entire post of Gwendolyn’s, I must agree with your assessment, in how anti-trans* violence affects everyone. I really wish this weren’t a problem. And… I’m very thankful that ENDA is now inclusive of Trans*, however! How does one prove such discrimination? I recently lost a contract when the client “found out” (which to me was rather odd, considering if you do *any* research online about me, you will plainly see I am female).

    I don’t even know if any of my comment made sense.

    Thank you for this post, darling.

    • Tyler J. Yoder says:

      You’re welcome. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you cry, my dear.

      I have a friend who’s identifies as a transman, but a very femme one, and after looking for support in the trans* community has given up on any support whatsoever, because he doesn’t fit into their correct boxes. You’d think they would be supportive, but apparently not.

      It’s a shame that you felt isolated in the community. I know that frequently, frankly, sometimes I am entirely sick of being stuck in straight society, and need to go spend some time surrounded by my people. It helps soften the othering I get in the broader world. To go looking for that, and not be able to find it – I’m so sorry. ❤

  5. I love this with a passion!

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