20th of November is International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
International Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day to remember those who have lost their lives through transphobia. In the first nine months of 2011 there were 116 reported killings of trans people around the world. In Scotland, research shows that 62 percent of transgender people have faced transphobic harassment from strangers and that trans people are 7.7 times more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the population due to the prejudice they experience.
It’s easy to get absorbed in our own problems. Between dealing with unsupportive parents, hostile work environments, tricky legal issues, and medical nightmares, most of us hardly have any time to think about anything else. As trans* men in particular, it’s difficult to remember we’re not the only ones under the “T”. Our voices are so loud on sites like youtube and tumblr, we tend to drown out or forget trans* women.
This is troublesome, because it allows us to forget that transgender women (particularly women of color) are disproportionately the target of hate crimes, that 44% of LGBTQ murder victims are trans* women, that trans* women have particular difficulty accessing health care and enormously high rates of HIV, and that they are so frequently (far more frequently than transgender men) the butt of jokes in the media (take, for example, the recent Family Guy episode called “Quagmire’s Dad).
Of course the point of this post is not to play the oppression olympics, but to issue a call to every individual who considers themselves a transgender activist or member of the trans* community: DO NOT FORGET YOUR TRANS* SISTERS. Trans* women in our society are often the victims of transmisogyny (what happens when sexism and transphobia climb into bed together) and face unique issues that are often glossed over when the struggle over trans* issues focuses on trans* men (and transmasculine individuals in general). Yes, as trans* men we have it hard. We have it very hard, but at the moment we have more privilege than trans* women and we should not use that privilege to abandon them the way transgender people have so often been abandoned by the GLB movement.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is fast approaching (Nov 28th) and is the perfect reminder that this is not just about us (in fact, it is hardly about trans* men at all), it is about them too. We are all under the “T”.