Posts tagged transgender day of remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance: the dire statistics which explain it all

(update on info already put out to the UK press)

Throughout this week, members of the UK’s transgender community will be coming together at locations up and down the country to commemorate the death of hundreds of individuals murdered, worldwide for no other reason that they are trans – and to bear witness to a shocking increase in reported murders over the last twelve months. Read the rest of this entry »

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Background information: Transgender Day of Remembrance

The following is put together in collaboration with organisers of one of the main UK events taking place in November 2012. It is here as an initial press resource: but if anyone would like further information on individual events, please let me know and i will make introductions as appropriate.


On Tuesday 20 November thousands of members of the Trans community and their supporters will gather together at locations around the globe for the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR). They will do so to commemorate the hundreds of individuals murdered each year simply for being transgender. Read the rest of this entry »

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Respect the Transgender Day of Remembrance

After years of disrespect, shoddy reporting and at times downright abusive coverage of trans issues, today, of all days, feels like a good day for the press – and the UK media in particular – to up its game. To note that this, the 20th November is a day when the world’s growing trans community stops for a moment to remember its dead.

Or failing that, to forego printing yet another piece that subtly mocks, either because we are such “funny creatures”, and therefore deserving of mockery – or worse, humiliates, embarrasses and sometimes endangers because those reporting trans stories just couldn’t care less. Its just another story and the fact that stories about trans men and women have led to violence, to murder are just unfortunate by-products of the way things are.

History of the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR)

Now in its 13th year, the TDOR was originally created in 1998 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender graphic designer, columnist, and activist, to commemorate the murder of Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts.

In 2010, TDOR ceremonies of one form or another were held in almost 200 cities in 20 countries across the world. This is a time when the trans community comes together, in solemnity and in celebration, to remember its dead.

Trans crime statistics

Statistics compiled by Trans Murder Monitoring suggest that somehwere in the world, every 72 hours, a trans man or woman is murdered. The absolute numbers are small: but if any other group in society was being killed off at quite such a rate, there would be a global outcry.

Many of these killings are located in South America: but to attempt to use murder alone as a measure of trans abuse – to argue, as the Daily Express did, just one year ago, that because there had been no homophobic murders reported, this was a non-issue – is simply sick.

As anyone working closely with the UK trans community will know, for some, just surviving is an achievement. Last month alone delivered its quota of shocking stories: trans men and women attacked, hospitalised – or just too afraid to leave their house, as a result of bigotry.

As a result of bigotry in part inspired by the press.

The role of the Press

There is not enough time here to detail the extent of press culpability on this issue. One simple story should suffice. Early on 16 November, news agency Reuters circulated an outwardly respectful narrative, initially published “straight” (without picture). A little later in the day, however, it had gained a powerful and grainy image by way of illustration: a picture of a transgender prostitute working the streets of Tegucigalpa.

That really doesn’t help.

Even when they think they are being sympathetic, the press seem incapable of taking their collective heads out of the gutter.

Apology – and Petition

I won’t be in London to commemorate this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance: bit of a cock-up on the child-minding front, and whilst i am happy to bring the boy along, i suspect he isn’t up to what he would see as a load of boring grown-up stuff.

But i will be there in spirit.

Meanwhile, therefore, I am putting up a petition to ask the press, today of all days, to respect the sensibilities of the trans community. In the UK, to ask especially those tabloids and mid-market papers that get so excited about groups disrespecting poppy day to demonstrate a similar degree of respect for today’s day of remembrance.

That is all.


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why “trannies” shouldn’t apologise

Now here’s a chilling thought, as the trans community prepares to commemorate our not inconsiderable roll call of dead – murdered, mostly, by fuckwits who can’ t see beyond the label – on our own day of remembrance: the very last word a victim will have heard, out of all the words in the dictionary, is more likely to have been “tranny” than any other.

Can I “prove” that? Of course not! It just happens that early in my transition, when I was so much more obviously trans, the word i heard most often as ordinary everyday term of abuse was “tranny”. On about half the occasions when the threat level escalated to the point where i felt in real danger of violence, the ‘bon mot’ of choice by the aggressor was “tranny”.

Talking to trans friends in the UK the picture is much the same. It may be “just a word” for 99% of the population: but for us it is something else. I don’t think it exaggeration to suggest it is to the trans community what the swastika is to Jews, the uniform of the KKK to the black American community.

That’s why we object to it. More: that’s why there is a sense of community “ownership” of the word. Why, to the irritation of not a few non-trans commenters, we both condemn its use…then spray it around on programmes like trans summer.

Worse: when called on our supposed inconsistency, we bloody trannies have the effrontery to assert that its “our” word. That only WE get to decide when to use it, when its offensive.

Huh? Unreasonable? Much. But very understandable. There is a very real sense that we have paid – many times over – in blood for that word.

It’s a bit like…oh, imagine if u will, a bunch of town planners wanting to relocate a battlefield war monument. They may have every reasonable reason for doing so. But I suspect all the reasonableness in the world wouldn’t go far to impress the vets who fought there, whose comrades died there…

It’s a shame. Without the history, “tranny” is quite a nice word: rhythmically light, ever so slightly cuddly. That’s why many trans folk still use it, with friends, when they can be sure its not abuse, threat or harbinger of danger.

Which is why it confuses the broader public. Why, in general, we fight and fight to exclude it from disrespectful media headlines…then go home and laugh about it. Why, too, its use continues to divide.

That’s a pity. As Sarah from TMW said yesterday: surely we have better things to argue about? Er, yes. And no.

As hate token, it remains something worth fighting against. But for all that, I suspect the battle is lost and – unexpected consequence of trans summer – we will have to accept now its wider use?

why? Because the terms of debate have shifted. Subtly. But shifted all the same. The perspective has changed, the focus on a different question, which is not “why use the t-word, when it causes so much grief”, but “why can’t we use the word when you do all the time?”

The answer, as above, is pretty clear. But I think now its distraction. Sometimes, the mark of the good strategist is to know when to abandon a particular fight as not worth the aggro.

We may just have reached that point over “tranny”.


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