It’s a day to memorialize people killed as the result of transphobia, the hatred or fear of transgender and gender non-conforming/non-binary people. We also remember 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.
Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is observed in cities all across the U.S. and in more than 20 countries around the world. In the preceding 12 month period (November 2020 – November 2021) in the United States alone, 61+ were murdered, compared to 45+ in 2020 and 20-27 people/year previous to 2019. A majority of those murdered are Transgender Women of Color. It is past 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 in our minds how we see and think of ourselves, who we know ourselves to be, how we express ourselves to people around us.
In our culture, we traditionally 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 individuals transcend or cross over these traditional gender boundaries. We view life in a much fuller, richer continuum of possibilities across a variety of gender-related spectrums.
Transgender, the “T” component of LGBTQI+, refers to how we identify, express ourselves and desire to be accepted, on a daily basis. Many people in society today view LGBTQI+ as a “choice.”
I can assure you this is not a “choice” to be forced to hide ourselves from those we love, live or work with for fear of rejection, harassment, loss of employment, loss of access to medical or behavioral health care services, denial of social services, denial of public accommodations, housing, physical or verbal assaults or the very real possibility of being murdered. These are not “choices” we make. We are not looking to be changed, fixed or forced into a lifestyle deemed socially acceptable.
Newly enacted non-discrimination laws enacted in recent years help to some extent, still discrimination continues under many different forms.
A national 2015 survey showed 18% of transgender people in New York were unemployed, 37% live in poverty, 15% reported losing a job because of their gender identity or expression. 74% of school age children in grade K–12 experienced some form of mistreatment, such as being verbally harassed, prohibited from dressing according to their gender identity, disciplined more harshly, physically or sexually assaulted. Many were verbally harassed, physically attacked, and sexually assaulted because of being transgender. 14% of our K-12 school age children faced such severe mistreatment they left school. 25% of transgender students in college or vocational school were verbally, physically, or sexually harassed.
The transgender community is continuing to make ourselves known and visible in everyday life. If we are to live in a modern, progressive society, we must welcome and accept all people regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression along with all the other protected groups of people who reside in this state?
Transgender Day of Remembrance commemoration service will be held virtually by Zoom on Saturday November 20th, 2021 from 2 to 4 pm. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our events page to register in advance.