Since 1998, the LGBTQ community has recognized November 20th as Transgender Day ofÂ Remembrance. Â It was founded by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor Rita Hester, who was murdered that year. Â It has grown from the original web project and candlelight vigils into a world wide event.
Please take a moment in the coming week to learn more about this event, but more importantly, the continued violence against transgender individuals. Â We know discrimination and bias haven’t decreased nearly enough since ’98, we know people are still being harassed, abused, hurt and pushed into corners because of their gender expression. Â And even though it’s important to speak out against the actions of other with regard to transphobia, we need to start within. Â Take a moment to consider your reactions to the transgender people in your life, ones you’ve seen at work or around town. Â And even if you can’t think of any examples in your day-to-day life, you’ve seen someone on TV or a website or a magazine article who triggered a reaction in you. Â Take a moment to think about that reaction. Â Where does it come from? Â What does it mean, how does it effect the way you would treat someone if you found out they were a trans man or woman?
Tobi Hill-Meyer wrote a great blog post about transmisogyny that I highly recommend. Â It won’t take you very long and I am betting you’ll come away with a new understanding of how ingrained and accepted anti-trans sentiment and actions are in the queer community. Â And that’s supposedly our community.
Think for a moment about the people who have to risk discrimination, harassment, assault or murder because they choose to express who they truly are, rather than give in to the expectations of dominant society. Â If you’ve never endured any abuse for being born to a body that doesn’t completely fit, take a moment to be thankful.
Please join me in remembering the transgender brothers and sisters we’ve lost, and the countless others who identify as something other than the expected cis-male or cis-female and have to face a life of potential hostility and continual challenge.
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