Transgender Day of Remembrance

SeleenaK_2011-10-21-14.38.17I’m not a hateful person .. I’m really not. It’s just that as the years go by, things start to become a little clearer for me.  As the clock continues to wind down on this bimbo, I realize that ideals are wonderful but they don’t count for much when the rubber hits the road.

My so-called liberal-progressive friends grab on to the Transgender Day of Remembrance concept, turn up the drama and milk it for all it’s worth.  And it makes me crazy.

For those of you who may not be aware, The Transgender Day of Remembrance is “celebrated” every year on November 20th.  It’s a day to memorialize trans people who died violently in the previous year, simply for being trans.

But let me back up just a little.  One death is too many deaths.  This is indisputable.  And, yes, memorializing those who’s lives were taken simply because they were trans might be an honorable thing to do.  But in the ideological mind, there is no desire or need to understand the tragic data.  To them, there’s a very high-level, abstract feeling in the concept, so they run with it.

My mind just doesn’t work that way.  Partly because I’m analytical and partly because I feel responsible for my own safety.  I need to understand the risks to me and to those close to me, and to do this, raising a flag and making a speech to raise awareness falls horribly short.

Were these murders committed on my street? I’m my town? In my country? And were the victims cautious folks who avoided dangerous areas and risky behavior? Who killed them?  Friends? Family? Strangers?  “Clients”?  And why?  I don’t need to know how they died.  “Skinned alive”, “shot 3 times in the face”.  Even the most humane termination of life for this reason is horrific to me.  But for those so inclined, knowing how it happened does help feed the drama.

Maturity starts, when drama ends.  ~ Melchor Lim

This is where I get accused of “victim blaming” but that’s not what I’m doing.

No one deserves to die!  There are no actions or lifestyle choices that put the blame on the victim.  I’m just trying to understand what went so horribly wrong so I can try to protect myself and do my best to guide others away from danger.  Do I need to live in fear each and every day of my life  or can I feel reasonably comfortable by knowing what places or behaviors to avoid and what the danger signs in others might be?

This year’s sad number is 268.  268 transgender murders were reported worldwide.  One can only assume the number is higher since gathering numbers for the whole world is something even the WHO struggles with.

But let’s talk about the data.  Or better still, let me explain the detail I was able to find.

  • Of 268 murders, 154 (57%) were committed in Brazil. Yep .. again.  Over half the trans deaths in the entire world happened in Brazil.  Add in Mexico’s 31 (12%) and the United States 14 (5%) – the top three countries – and we account for 75% of all transgender murders worldwide.

My country, Canada, is usually not on the list at all but this year was the exception.  Two trans women were murder in 2014 in the same city – Edmonton.   Ironic side note here:  One of the reported victims was described as a very prominent drag queen.  Most of the trans community doesn’t normally consider drag queens as trans folk but when the opportunity presents itself to bump up the stats, drag queens suddenly become trans folk.

  • The 19-29 age bracket was the most victimized group.
  • a large number of victims were sex trade workers
  • some on the list were there due to speculation and hear-say as opposed to involvement in a documented hate crime

But does anyone care about the 154 Brazilian’s who died unnecessarily?  “Of course!  We care about everyone!” says the bandwagon, but posting an ‘in memoriam’ photo, attending a flag raising or expressing sadness (sniff, sniff) in the social media world does little to help the 150-ish Brazilian trans folks who will likely die before the next Day of Remembrance.

Please, bandwagon people, let’s work on real, substantial ways to end the bloodshed in Brazil, Mexico and the United States, for starters.  I don’t want to be memorialized on November 20th and I’m guessing you don’t either.

 

 

 

additional information and my reference numbers can be found at:
http://www.transviolencetracker.org/index.php/82-blog/110-preliminary-tvtp-transgender-violence-report-for-transgender-awareness-2014
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/transgender-day-of-rememb_b_6088794.html
http://www.glaad.org/tdor

2 thoughts on “Transgender Day of Remembrance”

  1. A very thought-provoking article Seleena. You’ve actually put into words thoughts and feelings that many might brand as blasphemous. It needed to be done though.

    Let me agree that one death is too many, for whatever reason. I’ve not done anmy research on numbers but I’d suspect that the total number of murders worldwide (and I agree with your comments about getting accurate numbers being problematical) would be significantly greater. Even a cursory search reveals that in 2012, only two years ago, 14,827 people were murdered in the United States alone. Chicago had 500 murders, almost double the worldwide figure for transgender murders. What were the reasons behind these murders? Were there any other specific categories of victims? How many were non-transgender sex workers? How many were gay/lesbian and were their murders directlty related to their sexuality or was it coincidental. What of religion-based hate crimes?

    Honouring and remembering those who have died is a noble thing, something we do for those who have sacrificed their lives in their country’s service. Using such deaths to gain public attention for other reasons though borders on the macabre.

    Yes, let us remember those transgendered people who have been murdered as a result of hate crimes but let us also remember all those others who have died at the hands of others simply for being who they are, or where they were at the time.

    As you said Seleena, let’s work on ways to end the bloodshed. I’d like to see it end everywhere, not just within our own community. Human nature means that we’ll never eradicate it but if we can reduce the toll then progress will at least have been made.

  2. Thank you so much for your thoughts, Jane. As always, your logical and compassionate mind adds even more depth to a discussion.

    I’d be happy if my thoughts on this were only considered blasphemous but I’ve been called “a hater” for walking this road.

    But, Jane, there’s very little value in the TDOR drama. A potential trans murderer will certainly not fail to kill because of the “raised awareness” from an annual day of mourning.

    Yet it’s considered hateful to say “don’t become a victim!”.

    My mom never carried a sign, lit a candle or built a monument to protect me from bad people. She made rules for my behavior, rules for those who would interact with me and taught me how to minimize risks. Because she truly didn’t want me to become a victim.

    But it’s victim-blaming to insist that our sisters ensure there is no genital confusion BEFORE leaving the bar with a romantic interest?

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