Archive for the ‘anti-transgender violence’ tag
The story in de profundis is familiar to me – I am positive I heard about it on the news, or from the online LGBT community, or both. It reminds me that I really need to write about how trans people are treated in prison, because it’s beyond inhumane.
Adding more posts by Monica Roberts.
The first is Chanelle Pickett’s story, showing just how little trans women are valued when we are murdered, and how important it is for ENDA to have gender protections. As I’ve asked before: How many trans people have to die before we’ve sacrified enough blood to be worthy of civil rights?
The second is TDOR..My Thoughts:
We’ve been ‘gayjacked’ out of an ENDA bill that our community desperately needs and told because we fought tooth and nail to stay in it, we’re going to get frozen out of federal civil rights legislation until 2013. We also paid $20K of hard earned T-bills for the privilege of getting screwed by HRC, and we already have some elements of the transgender community with short memories trying to say that we need to work with an organization that repeatedly screws us. Here in Louisville the JCPS is prepared to go forward with protections for GLB workers, but not transgender ones as the Forces of Intolerance gear up their faith based hatred and lies to stop it.
The third is And Now, a Word from an Ally, Ten Reasons the Women’s Center Observes the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Venus Envy’s strip hit me particularly hard, but you should read all of them.
TG Day of Remembrance
So today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. To commemorate it, I wrote a piece called There’s Something About “Deception” which was posted on Feministing.com yesterday – it touches on the myth of deception and violence directed against trans people. That got me thinking about an old piece that appears in my first poetry chapbook called Either/Or. The piece was called “scared to death” – here it is…
scared to death
[author’s note: I specifically wrote this piece for, and first performed it on, the fourth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20, 2003). I dedicated it to the twenty-five people who were murdered that year for being transgendered]
few people make it through high school
without having at least one classmate commit suicide
for me, it was tony newman
in eleventh grade
he locked himself in the garage
with the car running
the act seemed so unlike him
he was one of the few popular kids
who everyone genuinely liked
and every time i saw him
he was either laughing
or making someone else laugh
apparently, he never spoke about being depressed
and he didn’t leave a note
so the reason he took his own life
remained a mystery
it lingered like a lump in people’s throats
i had a theory
that i never shared with anyone
i wondered whether tony felt like i did
i was transgendered
although at the time
i didn’t have a word for it
but i was good enough at math
to know that statistically
there had to be at least a few other people
keeping the same secret
and i don’t know if tony was transgendered
but i put two and two together
because i knew
that suicide had crossed my mind
a few hundred times
and i knew
that i’d rather be dead
than be caught dressed as a girl
and i knew
how much it hurt
to have thoughts that you don’t want
but you can’t turn off
and now i know
that this is nothing new
there are statistics that suggest
that up to 50 percent of transgendered people
try to end their life
if not by suicide, then indirectly through substance abuse
and everyday i consider myself lucky
to have made it this far
i still feel like i’m only one step away from the grave
because once every two weeks
someone like me is murdered
for being transgendered
and these are no unfortunate accidents
no victims of circumstance
are almost always beating beyond recognition
these are attempts at total obliteration
and i can’t help but wonder whether i am next
because at least once a week
i get up on stage and out myself
in songs and spoken word pieces
and i worry that this makes me a target
because all it takes is one asshole in the audience
who feels that his manhood
is threatened by my mere existence
but i remind myself
that there are many ways to die
and the slowest
most torturous one of all
is being scared to death
because being intimidated into silence
is like being suffocated
in both cases
someone else is taking your last breath
so tonight i speak
on behalf of an entire endangered species
because i know
that silence really does equal death
and i know
that the only thing that stops injustice is protest
and my words are a tribute
to every transgendered voice that has been silenced
whether by suicide
or those who are still alive
but frightened into keeping quiet
and i hope
that this piece will be
one of a million small acts
to fighting back
Elizabeth McClung of Screw Bronze posts about the sheer violence trans people suffer.
So here is what I wish people would remember; that in the western world, no other group has a higher murder rate than transgender individuals. And t-women usually aren’t murdered, they are lynched. We don’t like to think that lynching goes on in Canada, the USA, and the UK but it does. You could put up a scaffold in front of the Capitol, and hang a transitioning woman on it and tell the police, “I had a sex with………it, I didn’t know what I was doing” and you have a 50% chance of getting off, and at least some sort of reduced sentence.
Julia Serano posts There’s Something About Deception at Feministing.
Much of the violence that is directed at trans people is predicated on the myth of deception. For example, straight men who become attracted to trans women sometimes erupt into homophobic/transphobic rage and violence upon discovering that the woman in question was born male.
Some of you may be wondering why and how the TDOR which is happening in venues all over the world today got started. To know the present situation, we’re going to go back to the past, specifically November 1998.
The Boston transgender community had already been reeling over the brutal deaths of three other local transwomen, 23 year old Chanelle Pickett in November 1995, Deborah Forte (the aunt of TDOR co-coordinator and radio podcast host Ethan St. Pierre) and the September 11, 1998 one of Monique Thomas.
Monica also posts Gwen Smith and the TDOR Story.
Gwen Smith never set out to be a transgender activist, but now she embraces the term. “I really take pride in being called a transgender activist because I’m trying to really create activism, create advocacy around the issue and around transgender issues,” she said.
Smith is the founder of Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day that is observed worldwide in nearly 100 different locations to remember the large number of transgender people who are murdered every year as a result of anti-trans bias.
And finally, Monica tells the HRC to keep their moneygrubbing mitts off of TDOR. Fortunately, they cancelled their DC event, but they still host others. If they’re unwilling to support an inclusive ENDA, they have no business using our dead to raise funds for their activism.
Daimeon at Pam’s House Blend has posted a list of TDOR vigils.
One item I found of interest in said post was that HRC canceled its scheduled event at HRC headquarters:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 19, 2007
Brad Luna | Phone: 202/216.1514 | Cell: 202/812.8140
Trevor Thomas | Phone: 202/216.1547 | Cell: 202/250.9758
Human Rights Campaign Joins in Support of National Transgender Day of Remembrance
In Lieu of Holding its Own Event, HRC Urges Community to Attend Whitman-Walker Event
WASHINGTON – Events marking the 9th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance tomorrow, November 20, designed to honor the memories of our transgender sisters and brothers lost to hate violence, will be taking place throughout the country and locally in Washington, D.C. In lieu of holding its own event, the Human Rights Campaign is asking its staff, volunteers, and other members of the community to be actively involved in Transgender Day of Remembrance activities throughout the country. In Washington, D.C., HRC will participate in an event at the Whitman-Walker Clinic, 1407 S Street NW.
HRC will not be holding an event at its Rhode Island Ave. headquarters, as previously reported.
In honor of the day, the Human Rights Campaign released two special video messages from transgender ministers Drew Phoenix, pastor of St. John’s United Methodist Church in Baltimore, MD and Presbyterian minister Rev. Erin Swenson of Atlanta, GA.
The video messages produced by HRC are available for viewing on our blog, HRC Back Story: http://www.hrcbackstory.org/2007/11/special-message.html
Additional information on the Whitman-Walker event:
WHAT: 9th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance to commemorate transgender people and loved ones who have died due to hate violence.
WHO: Observance is sponsored by DC Trans Coalition, DCATS, International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE), Latin@s en Accion, MAGIC, National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), Transgender Education Association (TGEA), Transgender Health Empowerment, DC Black Pride, DC Coalition of Black GLBT Men and Women, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Whitman Walker Clinic
WHERE: Whitman Walker Clinic
1407 S Street, N.W
WHEN: 6 p.m. to 8p.m., Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Note: Candle light observance will start promptly at 6 p.m.
WHY: The Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes 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.
Megan Julca has lots of links through here.