Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s the annual day of gathering for and remembrance of the transgender people who had their lives taken from them during the past year, and from all of us, by hate and intolerance. Often times, they suffered death in the most inhumane, vicious, and brutal ways imaginable. Transgender people are disproportionately affected by this type of aggression, and trans women of color are the most likely to be targeted for violence because of the compounded elements wrought by transphobia and racism.
In 2013, 238 transgender people were murdered, according to Transgender Europe’s Transgender Murder Project. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many transgender murders do not end up getting reported as such, so this number only represents a fraction of the total. Many times, their killers aren’t brought to justice. Because of the disrespectful and disposable treatment of trans lives, many times there is no investigation and no attempt to find these murderers.
Murder is always tragic, and it breaks my heart to know that these people have been murdered for no more reason than they had the courage to be themselves. They were brave enough and strong enough to share their authentic selves with the world. It’s deeply troubling to me that this is a constant threat for many. As a white trans woman with more advantage and privilege than many of my trans sisters and brothers, I realize that I have less likelihood of experiencing attack in this way. However, it is still possible. I am still potentially a target and I’ve experienced my perspective on my personal safety shift once I transitioned and began moving about the world expressing my true gender identity. I’m more afraid that I’ll be the target of aggression because I’m visibly trans, and to some extent because I’m a woman. It has changed how I behave when out on the street at night, and I have an increased awareness of my vulnerability in those situations. I want to recognize and treat that fear in an appropriate way to keep myself as safe as possible, but I don’t want to let it have power over me in a way that detracts from my ability to live my life as I intend.
Today, I’m remembering my transgender brothers and sisters who’s lives have been cut short before they could reach their fullest potential and share all of their gifts with the world. I also recognize that the violence perpetrated against them hurts all of us. I hope that everyone who has taken the time to read these words will take a minute to reflect on what can be done by each of us to create a safer world where everyone is accepted for the uniqueness they offer to our human experience. Different and diverse expressions are gifts to us all. Let’s create a world where everyone is allowed equal value and treatment, and where love of humanity in all its wondrous forms can flourish.
More about the Transgender Day of Remembrance 2013 can be found at: