Sunday, November 20, 2011

National Transgender Day of Remembrance

Lotsa folks don't "get" transgender. they don't know what it means, they think it means you're gay, but you wanna switch genders.
And I understand that. It's hard, I imagine, to grasp the idea that you are physically one gender, but emotionally feel the other, and don't feel whole, or don't feel yourself, your true self. Everyone wants to be themselves....everyone.
So, today is National Transgender Day of Remembrance. A day to remember those who have been lost to us forever as a result of violence against the transgendered community.
from the website:

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred based violence, especially since the events of September 11th. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.
Do yourself a favor and find out what it means to be the T in LGBT.
Understand, be compassionate, be welcoming.
Realize that people may make mistakes in speaking of the Transgendered community, but recognize those mistakes, correct them and move on.
Kelly Osbourne recently gave an interview to Glamour UK, and came under fire for her use of the slur "tr*nny". Like me, Kelly had no idea that the word was seen as demeaning and hurtful. She reached out to GLAAD because she wanted to understand how she had offended some people and to apologize for her, well, ignorance. 
This is Kelly's apology [source]:

I'd first like to make it clear that no one asked me to write this.  After reaching out to GLAAD for advice and clarification, I thought it was imperative to explain and amend my wrong. I gained a lot of knowledge, and I now feel the urgency to speak out and teach others. As unfortunate as this incident was, I assure you it was taken out of context, but I cannot deny the words; they did come out of my mouth. As a lifelong LGBT ally and friend, I feel it is my duty to not only apologize for my wrong but to also correct it. The word “tr*nny” is a derogatory and hurtful word. I was completely ignorant to this and soon came to realize most of my peers and LGBT friends are too. This is a word I will no longer use or allow. It wasn't until I googled it after speaking with GLAAD that I found out just how unbelievably offensive it was.  When friends jokingly called me that in the past, I took it as a compliment or a joke, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Transgender people are some of the bravest people on Earth and among the LGBT community. I cannot imagine the courage it takes to live your life openly and honestly, reflecting who you truly are, or the hurt that comes from having to hide who you are because others may not support and accept you.  Due to the fact that it is Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, I would like to raise awareness to this injustice in society. It is a day to remember those who have lost their lives due to anti-transgender violence and speak out against the fact that transgender people face disproportionate amounts of discrimination and harassment every day. The lack of knowledge about transgender people contributes to the unparalleled number of violent acts against them every day. A part of me is happy I've made such an awful mistake because I can now use this as a platform to help speak out against the use of such hurtful and dehumanizing words. With your assistance and support, we can get this word out of television/media.  It is still being used today; I've seen it four times in the past week. My sincerest apologies to any ally or member of the LGBT community whom I have hurt or offended.  That kind of representation goes against everything I stand for and is the last thing I would ever want to do. I would also like to thank The Transadvocate for educating me and bringing this to my attention. Nobody can tell you whom to love or what gender to be.  That is your basic human right, and certainly nobody has the right to discriminate against you for who you truly are!
We could all learn a lot........ 


froggy said...

Every story is unique and every person is unique.

Dara Lise said...

Great post, thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this.

Wonder Man said...

Thanks for posting Kelly's apology

Biki said...

One thing to remember about transgender folks, is if you aren't quite sure which gender pronouns to use, ask them. Be respectful, and most trans folks will be more than happy to answer. Because while to you it might not seem to be that big of a deal, believe me it is a very big deal.

I basically live without gender pronouns that fit. I cant go by he, his, or him in my day to day life. Which is one thing I really enjoy about blog/cyber land, is usually the correct gender terms are used. You can't imagine how much being called "she" and/or "her" hurts. Its like a physical blow, and the more ragged my emotions the more that slap hurts.

If you slip now and then? Dont worry about it to much, just try harder next time, yeah?

Really, if your not trans you cant truly 'get' being trans. No, thats not a slur, but for most people they dont think about their gender, ever. Just like straight people never think about their sexuality, its just who they are. LGBT are forced to consider their sexuality, over and over and over again. And to a great deal, I think it makes many of us more thoughtful, kinder, and more willing to listen to someone elses view points.