Content warnings for mentions of violence and transphobia.
When I think of Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR), a lot of feelings arise. As someone who is transgender, it’s a very sensitive topic, and I tend to get overwhelmed trying to discuss it. While I have not faced physical violence for being myself, and I do not wish to experience it, every attack against others who are transgender can feel very personal when you are trans as well. It’s especially difficult when those around you do not understand why you feel so strongly for those who have died senselessly as a result of violence or hostility.
I know that earlier in my life when I was still closeted, I was so scared and afraid that I would be attacked or abandoned by friends and family if I came out. Despite how well you think you know someone, coming out is a big deal. Living in the town that I did growing up, I feared that I could be subjected to violence for being transgender and bisexual. I knew of very few people who were out as LGBTQ+ in my school, and those that were faced bullying that our school did not do a lot to help mitigate.
Being faced with reports of murders and suicides of transgender people in the news online and on television, I feel incredibly hurt and full of grief. Many times the media will misgender trans people in death, and will fail to correct their statements despite family and/or friends of the deceased who try to make it known that the individual was trans. Of course we do have some success stories where newscasts will correct their statements, and it’s good to hold onto that as a win for our future; however, more often than not trans deaths are overlooked, and get no coverage from the media leading people to the incorrect assumption that we do not face violence.
It’s really important to make sure we are challenging others on their potentially transphobic behaviour. At the end of the day, TDOR is to remind us that violence against trans people is still prevalent worldwide, and we should be trying to make society more accepting of transgender people to diminish it. The more people who accept us, the less likely these hate crimes are to happen. No matter how we look, sound, act, or dress, we should be respected; we don’t need permission from someone else to live. Not everyone wants to transition, or transition to a place where they would be considered “passing” by other’s standards. We are people, and we just want to live.