Today is an important day for the trans community and their allies. Sparkle’s Beckie Fox explains why. [DivaMag.com 20 Nov 2015 – http://www.divamag.co.uk/category/comment/why-trans-day-of-remembrance-is-so-important.aspx]
TDoR is the event in the trans calendar that reminds us no matter how far we have come on our own personal journeys or how far we have travelled together as a progressive UK trans community and society – there is still a long way to go in the UK, but not as far as the rest of the world to ensure equality and inclusion of trans people.
The removal of ignorance and improved education for the general public, and challenging hate crimes and stopping violence towards trans and gender variant people is essential.
The hundreds of names of the murdered trans people from the past twelve months will be read out across the globe during local TDoR events are only those that have been reported, they are just the minority who are known to us. There are countless, nameless thousands who have been murdered for being trans, for being true to their gender identity who we will never know – and this is not going to stop anytime soon.
Trans rights in many countries suffer the same as LGB rights – at best those rights and laws are weak or don’t exist – at worst trans people are criminalised with the harshest of punishment and persecution for simply being a human being that is true to themselves.
In the last month I have been verbally abused twice in very public places for simply being me – but when do words turn into violence, when does violence turn into death? And a death for what? For simply being who you are, no, it is due to someone’s ignorance and hatred. This is simply not to be tolerated in any forward thinking modern society. Every word of ignorance and hatred should be challenged.
As well as the overwhelming sadness I feel, I am also heart-warmed when attending TDoR as the awareness and visibility of trans people has grown significantly in the last few years – and attendance of both trans people and non-trans people has increased. I always see a trans person as someone’s friend, someone’s child, a sibling, a colleague – they are maybe a mother or a father.
Trans people are people – we are simply trying to live our lives in peace with ourselves, having families and friends that bring happiness, and trying to building careers that are rewarding and give security.
This means TDoR is also more than just about remembering those we have lost through hatred and ignorance. It is about educating and informing the wider population that being trans is OK – being trans is just a normal variant in humans.
It is only the pressure from society to conform to gender binaries that has kept it in the shadows. Those shadows are guilty of causing depression and anxiety to thrive in trans and gender variant people.
The more people who step forward to be counted, who say they are trans regardless where they are on their own journey is critical to changing perceptions.
Knowing all of this it should be no surprise that the biggest killer of trans people is society, because suicide is driven through lack of understanding and acceptance by society as a whole.
Everyone has right to liberty and freedom of expression – free from discrimination and fear. And everyone has a right a right to life. TDoR reminds me that trans people throughout the world simply don’t have all of these basic rights.
Beckie Fox is a trustee at Sparkle, the national transgender celebration, and lives in Manchester.