20 November 2012: 14th international Transgender Day of Remembrance

Every 36 hours, somewhere in the world, a trans person is murdered.

Grey transgender symbol on black background overlaid with a candle

Another year and another sombre reminder of why we still need the annual international Transgender Day of Remembrance – the Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project’s latest report states that more than 250 reports of murdered trans and gender variant people have been recorded since this time last year.

The TDoR is the one day of the year which allows us, collectively, to focus on and grieve for those trans people whose rights to life have, without exception, been violently denied by those who have appointed themselves as judge, jury and executioner.

But trans people cannot and will not continue to be morally mandated out of existence, even when that self-styled mandate is enforced by physical violence. Whether we are trans or not, we must move forward together and continue our collective work to help bring about the time when we can know, without doubt, that a specific Remembrance Day will not be needed. Sadly, this is not today.

Every transsexual, white, black, man, woman, rich, poor, is in a state of primary emergency as a transsexual. [Andrea Dworkin in Woman Hating: A Radical Look at Sexuality, 1976]

This is the fourth consecutive year that I’ve posted here about TDoR and in that time I’ve witnessed an exponential increase in trans-focused anti-oppression work done by feminist women who aren’t trans. Despite this, mainstream society’s view of trans people is still firmly mired in prejudice and bigotry and is believed unquestioningly by a frighteningly large proportion of the population. Too many trans people today are still subjected to the power that non-trans people have, to forcibly impose a socially constructed gender binary on us, simply because our anatomies and lived experiences fall outside those dangerously narrow binary boundaries. The blinkered attitudes of many provide all the justification they need to use their socio/political and cultural authority to enforce outmoded and wrongheaded stereotypes of what is meant by female and male, woman and man.

I can see no easy answers to any of this; ultimately it’s up to non-trans people to stop murdering us and start accepting us. But I would ask this: if non-trans people do nothing else today, it would be something, at least, to acknowledge this long-standing display of prejudice and power against trans people the world over, and think carefully about what practical contributions you might make to help bring this undeclared war to an end.

Addendum (02/03/2024): The image within the post shows a grey transgender symbol on black background overlaid with a candle. The featured image shows a small candle flame with a large black background. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.