Transgender Day of Remembrance is November 20th. It’s a day to memorialize those who have been killed or murdered as the result of transphobia, (hatred or fear of transgender and gender non-conforming/non-binary people) and those who died as a result of suicide.
This day serves to bring attention to the continued violence and non-acceptance endured by the transgender community which we see at an alarming new rate emanating from federal government against its own people.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed in cities across the U.S. and in more than 20 countries globally. In the last 12-months (Dec. 1, 2019 – Nov. 2020) in the United States alone, more 40 people have been brutally murdered. Globally this number is over 300 people with Brazil leading with the highest death count. These people were violently killed just for living their authentic lives as Transgender or Gender Non-Conforming/Non-Binary. A disproportionate majority are Transgender Women of Color. It is time to stop this violence, hate and senseless death! It is time to celebrate the wide range of gender diversity many Americans and especially many New Yorkers share.
We often confuse a person’s sex with their gender. A person’s sex is determined by their physical anatomy at birth. Gender is how we see and think of ourselves, our internal sense of self, how we express who we are to other people around us.
In our culture, we quantify sex and gender as a binary of possibilities – male/masculine or female/feminine, with little room for variation in between. Transgender and gender non-conforming, non-binary and intersex people transcend these traditional sex and gender boundaries. We view life in a much fuller, richer continuum of possibilities across a sex and gender-related spectrum.
In recent years, the Trump administration has continued its onslaught against our community. At most federal agencies (Department of Education, Department of Housing & Urban Development, Department of Labor, and others), hard fought rights and protections were either rolled back, rescinded, or not enforced. These has left our already marginalized community with a greater sense of disparity, inequity and hardship in accessing needed medical and behavioral health care, employment, education and other vital services.
Suicide continues to be a constant concern in the Transgender community. 41% of people identifying as transgender have completed, attempted or considered suicide. More than half of transgender youth under the age of 20 have considered or attempted suicide. The suicide rate among the general population is less than 5%.
The reasons for these deaths vary with each individual person but major contributing factors include non-acceptance by parents, spouses and family members; bullying and harassment in schools, workplaces, and places of religious worship; and non-acceptance by society in general.
This is unacceptable. The transgender community is continuing to make ourselves known and visible in modern society and in daily life. We are demanding our place in society in terms of health and mental health care, employment, education and every other aspect of daily life.
If we are to live in a modern society, should we not welcome and accept all people regardless of our ideas about their gender identity and expression, race or ethnicity, ability or disability status?
This year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance commemoration service will be held free via Zoom this Friday, November 20, 2020 beginning at 7 pm. Registration is available online.
Co-Sponsors for this event include: Adirondack Unitarian Universalist Community, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Plattsburgh, LGBTQI+ Resource Committee SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Potsdam, Clarkson University, Adirondack Diversity Initiative, Behavioral Health Services North, Saranac Lake Youth Center, North Country Community College, Paul Smith’s College and Adirondack North Country Gender Alliance.