Trans Voices Are More Important Than Ever
By Establishment Staff
“The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day of solemnity. It is a day where we remember those we have lost, when we mourn, and when we consider that we live in a world where we or our friends could very well be next on the list. We know that we live in a time when the right to live our genuine lives without fear of murder is far from guaranteed. Our world is still a violent one, and we still have a very long way to go to see anti-transgender violence and prejudice wiped out.”
This is how Gwendolyn Ann Smith, the founder of the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), defines today’s observance; she created it to honor her friend Rita Hester, a 34-year-old Black trans woman who was brutally murdered in her own apartment in Allston, Massachusetts in November of 1998. And while it’s critical to devote energy all year long to battling the deadly, anti-trans bigotry of our culture — and to center the most marginalized as we do so — it’s also crucial to note and memorialize the devastating number of people we’ve lost in 2016. So far this year, 25 people in the United States have died of transphobic violence — the highest number of documented deaths since TDOR’s founding in 1999.
It has always been imperative to center, support, and bolster trans voices and trans rights. But now, with the ushering in of a chillingly anti-trans presidential administration, it is critical beyond measure. To that end, we’ve gathered together here our post-election #TransWeek coverage — and pledge our continued commitment to supporting trans creators of all stripes.
By Katelyn Burns
“What happens when a Trump voter clocks me as trans in a bathroom? Will they be armed? Are my kids in danger just by being around me? This country is hostile to me, that much has been confirmed. I’m watching Trump’s election headquarters on TV, and those goddamn red hats will haunt my nightmares.”
By Sam Riedel
“In short, Trump’s plan for the ACA is to allow known bigots to dictate which parts to keep and which to destroy — and whatever they decide, it will undoubtedly end up hurting trans people the most. Though cisgender gay people will certainly be hit hard by whatever comes next (gay and bisexual men are more severely affected by HIV than any other group in the U.S.), transgender men and women, as well as nonbinary people, are in need of regular medical care to tend both to our physical and mental health.”
By Jes Grobman
“November 18th was supposed to be just another night of action. DC Trans Power was supporting a small rally that was happening in a square in Columbia Heights to draw attention to the violence faced by the Latinx transgender community. I was invited to give a speech in which I read some of the results of DC Trans Coalition’s recently released Transgender Needs Assessment — the largest survey of a local transgender population ever conducted. Among the statistics I read was that 19% of trans women in DC have been physically or sexually assaulted by police.
I was about to experience both firsthand.”
By Emily Crose
“‘I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009,’ Keilyn told me. ‘Shortly before that, I’d realized what was going on with me, and just before that deployment, I realized that I was transgender and that I needed to see what I could do about transitioning. I found out that simply by being transgender I would be non-deployable, and I didn’t want to let my unit down. If I tried to change anything, I would be discharged. That would be very bad . . .’”
By Sam Riedel
“Younger trans people feel the same. Tolvo, a gender fluid (‘I’m a woman most of the time’) 24-year-old who’s been socially transitioning since she was 23, says that the day after the election was a harrowing and dangerous time. ‘The results of the election devastated me. I fell into a deep depression and had heavily suicidal urges. I did harm to myself by sitting out in the cold just trying to clear my mind for an hour in only PJs until my dad found me and brought me inside. I also got in a huge fight with my mother where she outed me to my father. It was one of the worst 24-hour periods of my life.’ At that point, Tolvo says, ‘detransitioning was already in my mind. I was afraid of being beaten or killed. At the same time I couldn’t bear going back to living as a man, how it felt like just thinking about it was poison to my body.’”
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Lead image: Wikimedia