A few thoughts for #TDOR

CONTENT NOTE: discussion of transphobic violence, and “justifications”.

Today is Trans Day of Remembrance, a day set aside by the transgender/transsexual community to commemorate the murders of trans folks in the past year, and to draw attention to the violence to which trans people are disproportionately subjected, with the hope of preventing future deaths and cruelty. I do not like to let the day go past unremarked, even though (as explained below) in my genderfluidity I have an “out”. When people are being murdered, all people of conscience should be motivated towards ending violence.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I simply do not express my genderfluidity in public (I still express it where I can, not just virtually but in the privacy of my room with feminine clothing etc). I opt to pass as cis rather than express those moments when I am in-between, or just really want to be female. I do so because of experiences of casual hatred directed towards me when I did choose to express my non-binary, non-heteronormative, aspects. I live in fear and hiding, and uncertainty. I make what choices I feel I have to, to navigate the world beyond my own.

To be trans is essentially not to have those choices; the hatred is, in the wider world, unavoidable and unpredictable in just where and when it will appear, and in what form. Which person who seems okay will turn out to react violently, a threat to life and limb? Who’s going to express in an unguarded moment their underlying belief that trans people should not be allowed to exist? (Some people, of course, make no secret of their hatred.)

The murders range from the supposedly spontaneous, violent expression of disgust (the so-called “trans panic” defence) to considered attempts to “rid the Earth” of those the perpetrator believes are a threat to society, or an abomination, or whatever. Some are just because the murderer knows that their target is not valued by society and they will almost certainly get away with it. There are plenty of other sources to explain just how disproportionate are the numbers of women of colour, and sex workers (and of course, the combination of all three axes) in the lists of those killed; the least protected, least valued, by White, het, cis middle-class society.

But anti-trans violence isn’t restricted to murder. Bullying, harassment, and other forms of aggression are common, and go unchecked. Protesting the murders means nothing, and achieves nothing, if these issues, from the basic verbal abuse through to brutality or sexual harassment, are left untouched. The permission granted by an indifferent society to these crimes, similarly creates the atmosphere where “trans panic” is considered a reasonable defence and in which the murder of someone for being trans is acceptable.

Trans Day of Remembrance is about mourning the victims. The other 364 days should be about working to ensure there are no more.


About ValeryNorth

I overthink everything.
This entry was posted in Gender, Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A few thoughts for #TDOR

  1. georgefinnegan says:

    I think there’s some hope in the future generation. I’ve had discussions with my daughter that lead me to believe that there are a good number of kids who do discuss sexuality on-line and are open to the reality that many people do need time and exploration to understand who they are and that there is no reason to not support them. Moreover, it seems that many kids in her highschool know who is gay, lesbian, trans, etc. as if they were speaking of knowing something perhaps more common place such as nationality. She feels a need to defend and argue for trans kids and I would suspect that she has a number of friends who feel the same, because she wouldn’t deal with them if they weren’t. Of course, when I was a kid in the 60’s and 70’s, I would never have heard of such a thing. I think there is change and improvement, but it is never as fast as we would like it.

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