Every two days, somewhere in the world, a trans person is murdered.
Another year has passed and in the last 12 months my community has lost almost 180 people – that we know of – to acts of transphobic violence. And even though many cis people seem, finally, to be coming to terms with the idea that trans people do exist, it’s a process which is frustratingly slow. Trans people still have a long way to go before we are recognised as the full members of humankind that we know ourselves to be.
While we walk our individual paths through this world, many of us continue to grow, to change, to find ourselves. And many of us may also continue to be marginalised and stigmatised, living on the edges of a society in which we already know we have as much right to take part as any cis person.
Yet so many cis people continue to make snap value judgements about us, to label us outcasts and pariahs, freaks and perverts, less than human in every way they can think. And having made that judgement, many will act on it with a myriad forms of violence, from the everyday microaggressions they inflict on us, the jibes, the slurs, the hate speech, the rapes, the beatings – every form of oppression available to them – and for some, that includes murder.
This is transphobia writ large, the manifestation of cis privilege as an irrational fear of, and/or hostility towards, people who are transgender or who otherwise do not conform to cultural stereotypes of what is meant by ‘male’ and ‘female’.
One of the effects of living in such beseiged circumstances in cis society is that we learn to survive – assuming, of course, that we are fortunate enough to get through each day in one piece. But each and every attack on us leaves another scar, even if it’s not visible on our physical bodies.
Then there are those of us who don’t make it through another day, another month, another year; those who don’t survive. And it is those people, our trans siblings, our family, our friends, our partners, who we remember and mourn each year on this date.
Around the world today, there are many vigils and memorials taking place – if there is one near you, and you can make it, please go along. Spare a few moments to remember those we have lost, to pay your respects – and to remind yourself and cis society at large that trans people are somebody’s children, somebody’s parents, somebody’s friends, somebody’s neighbours, somebody’s partners, somebody’s lovers.
More than anything else, today and every day, please remember that trans people too are part of the human race – and we’re as entitled to life as any other member of humanity.
A list of events and locations of vigils and memorials for the 12th International Transgender Day Of Remembrance can be found on the TDoR website.