Today, November 20th, is ‘Transgender Day of Remembrance.’ Events across the country will take place to remember trans-identified individuals who have been murdered because of their Trans identity (or perceived Trans identity). The names of these individuals can be found on the TDOR website. The violence experienced by the Transgender population is astronomical. Transphobia is perhaps the most profound fear and hatred perpetrated against the LGBTQQ population. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports that, out of all of the anti-LGBTQ murders in 2009, 50% were transgender women (and 79% of the murders were of people of color; the intersection of race, orientation and gender identity compounds an individual’s risk of being assaulted).
Because of the discrimination experienced by Transgendered individuals, many do not seek help when assaulted. In addition, they deal with the many issues that straight cisgender (someone who is comfortable in the gender they were assigned at birth) female victims face. These add up to many barriers to service, and prevent Trans-Identified victims from coming forward. A study conducted in Wisconsin revealed that “of trans and intersex individuals…50% of respondents had been raped or assaulted by a romantic partner.” The first national survey on LGBTQ hate violence found that 18% of the Transgender population reported being sexually assaulted/raped and 23% reported experiencing sexual harassment. The report also revealed that “95 percent of the worst incidents involved at least 2-3 perpetrators”[i]. A study in Philadelphia found that among the seventy surveyed, 72 percent of male to female transgender individuals reported “being forced to have sex; for female to male transgender individuals, the rate of sexual abuse was 29 percent”[ii]. A 1997 study in San Francisco noted of the MTF’s surveyed, that 85% reported verbal abuse because of and 30% reported physical abuse[iii].
One common misconception is that all or most of the Transgender population are involved in sex work. While it is true that some are, as a means of making money (possibly to help pay for surgeries or hormones…etc, or possibly as a result of poverty from being homeless after being kicked out of their home), this is a serious misconception and a form of discrimination. A study based in the District of Columbia found that female and transgender sex workers were the most vulnerable to sexual violence (for the purposes of the study ‘transgender’ was defined as an MTF sex worker). This comes as a result of the fear and hatred that comes about when a transgender individual reveals, or is outed in some way, to the ‘John.’ Unfortunately, and this is true for sex worker’s of all sexes, genders, sexualities, and ethnicities, violence against sex workers is viewed as more acceptable (they’re criminals anyways right?) and when you add ‘transgender’ it becomes the ‘punishment for deviancy'[iv]. This abuse is not just limited to the ‘John’s,’ even the police are assaulting transgender individuals[v]
So how do we prevent (sexual and intimate partner) violence against the Transgender population?
We stop using offensive words (‘Tranny’ is the most common). We educate ourselves about TQI (Transgender, Queer, Intersex; I use Queer and Intersex here because ‘Transgender’ can mean different things to different people and ‘Intersex’ is so closely linked with ‘Transgender’, despite being different) issues. We acknowledge and confront our privilege (this means being open-minded and listening to the voices of the Trans, as well as LGBQ, community). We recognize the difference between ‘sex’ and ‘gender.’ We stop grabbing (that’s sexual assault, oh btw) or asking about, their genitalia. We stop treating them like a science exhibit (you may just be curious and have good intentions, but it isn’t their job to educate you nor is it to reveal their personal lives to you on your terms). We don’t assume, we ask and accept the answer. We support LGBTQ organizations, and policies. We learn the difference between ‘sex’ and ‘gender.’ We become effective Bystander’s when we see transphobic violence being committed and we stop it.
Here is a list of TDOR Events in Virginia:
Will be holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance event
at the University of Virginia’s Newcomb Hall Main Lounge,
3d floor, Main Lounge and Art Gallery, 07:00-10:00 pm.
Living Gender, a student group of the University of Virginia’s
LGBT Resource Center, Charlottesville, Virginia, will be holding
a photo-exhibition, performance art, and round table discussion
with guest speakers in observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance.
will be holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance
on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 7:00 pm
at the Metropolitan Community Church of Northern Virginia
10383 Democracy Ln, Fairfax, VA
Attendees are invited to bring with them
a canned good and/or an article of clothing
for donation to TransGender Health Empowerment in Washington, DC
will be holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance
on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 4:00 – 10:00 pm
Open House and a time to reflect
7:00 pm candle light reading of names
Candii House, 3309 Granby Street, Norfolk, VA 23508 –
One block south of Park Place Medical – Trans Clinic.
The house is in the middle of the block.
Please park along 33rd and 34th Streets, in the driveway
of the property (white, Victorian house)
but please do NOT park along Granby Street.
Will be holding Transgender Day of Remembrance event
his year Richmond’s Transgender Day of Remembrance will include two events. At 10:30 on Saturday, November 20, we will gather at GCCR to dedicate a living memorial, a magnolia tree, dedicated to the memory of all of those transgender individuals who have lost their lives. The dedication will be followed by a reception in the GCCR gallery and lounge.
That evening a candlelight vigil will be held at 7:00 pm held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 520 North Boulevard in Richmond. The vigil will include the reading of the names of those killed as a result of anti-transgender violence since November 20, 2009. This event will also be followed by a reception in the Parish Hall.
[ii] ActionAIDS, Inc., Unity, Inc., & University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Work. (1997). Needs assessment of transgendered people in Philadelphia for HIV/AIDS and other health and social services. Philadelphia, PA: The HIV Commission for the Philadelphia EMA, AIDS Activity Coordinating Office, and Philadelphia Department of Public Health.