Thursday, November 19, 2009

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Must remember. Can't forget. Must remember. Can't forget.As Transgender Awareness Week (November 15th-20th) comes to a close, we observe the 11th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th, 2009.

On TDOR, we remember all transgender people who have been killed by violent hate crimes. Monica Roberts of TransGriot says it best, so I'll let her tell you what it's all about.

Do I worry about violence against transgendered people? In a word, yes. As the partner of a wonderful trans woman, I worry on a very personal level. I know how badly it hurt my Sweet the time a MTF friend's ex-wife said to her, "You're not a real girl." I know how badly it hurt her when she took a newly-transitioning friend to a clothing store and the clerks whispered and giggled about the "cross-dressers."

It hurts my heart when Sweet tells me all the incidences of ignorance that have caused her emotional pain. I won't downplay the impact of those hurtful experiences, but I thank the powers that be nobody's ever laid a finger on my girl."It scares me," Sweet says, "if a man happens to be walking behind me in a parking lot. I'm always sure he's read me and he's gearing up to bash my face in."

If anyone ever hurt my babygirl physically...hurt her body, which I find so stunningly beautiful...

I'm crying now. I'm crying at the prospect of somebody harming my girlfriend because she lives out the gender identity she knows in her heart is her. I'm crying because there are hundreds--probably more than hundreds--of people out there who have a gap in their lives a trans person used to inhabit. They used to have a child or parent or uncle or aunt or friend or partner and now they have nothing. All because of transphobic hatred. All because of ignorance. Because of fear.

Fear. Ignorance. Hatred. Transphobia.

These are things we can overcome. I have faith we can. I have faith those who don't understand could understand. Even I have failed at being outspoken at key moments. I've lost transphobic friends who preferred to hate me along with my transgendered girlfriend rather than altering their viewpoints. This is not an easy battle we're fighting. But what can we do but persevere when our sisters and brothers are dying?
This Transgender Day of Remembrance, I'll also hold in my heart thoughts of hope for trans people who are suffering domestic abuse at the hands of parents or partners who don't understand them. It's an all-too-common story. Did you know a staggering percentage of street youth identify as LGBT, and have left their homes because of family and community violence? Yet another reason I'm donating profits from my book sales to LGBT Youthline, an organization that lends an open ear to LGB, transgender, genderqueer, and Two-Spirit youth.

November 20th, please take a moment to reflect on the loss of life the global transgender community has experienced. Please reflect on violence, hatred and transphobia. Imagine how you might help make your community a more trans-friendly place to live.

Must remember. Can't forget. Must remember. Can't forget.

Bright Blessings,
Giselle Renarde

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