Transgender Day of Remembrance 2018
… what we do to real, living, breathing trans and gender non-conforming people when we deny, brush over or ignore the truth of their identities:
‘Jenner on everyone’s lips while the brutality of living in this body becomes an asterisk at the bottom of equality pages. No one ever thinks of us as human because we are more ghost than flesh, because people fear that my gender expression is a trick, that it exists to be perverse, that it ensnares them without their consent, that my body is a feast for their eyes and hands and once they have fed off my queer, they’ll regurgitate all the parts they did not like. They’ll put me back into the closet, hang me with all the other skeletons. I will be the best attraction. Can you see how easy it is to talk people into coffins, to misspell their names on gravestones.’ (Lee Mokobe)
… the 369 individuals who have been lost as a result of oppression, ignorance, violence and intersectional injustice. I wish there was space to tell all of their stories. I wish I knew more about their lives.
Romina Vargas Florentin was 28. She was stabbed to death in Paraguy by a man who had a history of attacking transwomen.
Fernando Lino da Silva, aged just 21, was a transman who was shot in his own living room in Brazil whilst he was watching TV.
Braniyela, who we do not know much about, was killed by an organised group in Columbia, who intentionally target trans and gender nonconforming folk.
Carlos Brandao, 38, died in hospital in Brazil. He had been beaten up, but the hospital neglected and mistreated him because he was a transmasculine person.
Naomi Hersi, 36, was killed in London by a man who looked for a transfeminine victim on dating sites, and drugged and murdered her.
Jenny Swift, whose name is not on the official TDoR list, was found hanged in her cell at HMP Doncaster, a male prison, last December. She had recently pulled out of a suicide pact with 3 other prisoners. It is implied that she committed suicide. Regardless of her cause of death, the system that imprisons transwomen alongside men is clearly culpable.
When we strip the leaves, their names, from the tree of life, we are left with a cross. When we do not speak out against persecution and oppression, we are left with loss.
Remembering and honouring the dead is not enough, we must be part of the change. We must be part of new life. We must act.
Find out about their stories, and consider how you can make a difference. Charities like Amnesty International and Stonewall provide plentiful ideas of how we might speak out against transphobia and injustice both world-wide and locally.
Alternatively, consider speaking out in your community. Get in touch with your local church, youth group, GP practice, business or council and find out how much they know about trans identities. Consider areas of injustice and speak to challenge them.
You don’t have to act alone, get in touch.
This TDoR, let our remembering be active. It doesn’t have to be like this.
We remember them.