November 20, 2011

International Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today, Sunday November 20th, is the 13th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). I think it is important to spread the word about this important day, which aims to remember those transgender people who have been been violently murdered as a result of their genders and sexualities. The gender and sexual identities of transgender and transexual people do not conform to society's expectations about gender and sexuality. They deviate from norms about masculinity, femininity, and heterosexuality. As a result, Jamie Ann Meyers, the author of this Huffington Post article, contends that transgender and transexual people are stigmatized, dehumanized, harassed, and discriminated against. They also experience intersecting forms of systemic oppression. AND they are subjected to brutal forms of violence.

According to Meyers, as well as this report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, the United States experienced "27 reported hate murder victims of LGBT and HIV-affected people in 2010, representing a 23-percent increase over 2009. A disproportionate number (70 percent) were people of color, and nearly half of the victims (44 percent) were transgender women." 
But not only do transgender and transexual people experience violence, they also do not have the same rights to protection as others have. As Meyers states, "often when legislation is proposed that would provide protection for transgender people at the federal level (e.g., an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act) and in many state legislatures, we are turned away. "

I firmly believe that feelings of discomfort with those who are transgender and transexual are understandable. Indeed, we have internalized socially constructed ideas about who is normal and who is not. However, transphobia is unacceptable; no human being deserves to be treated in such away. No human being deserves to have their life taken from them because they had the courage to challenge societal norms. We need to acknowledge that transphobia is our problem--not theirs. We need to move past our discomfort, especially today, on International Transgender Day of Remembrance. Please, take today to think about those who died as a result of deep-seated transphobia, I know I will.

For more information, check out this website.

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