Today was trans day of remembrance, all around people are lighting candles and holding events to remember those trans people who have lost their lives.
You may be trans or have friends or family who are. You may know a little about it or nothing at all. You might understand it intimately or find it deeply strange and unfamiliar. It doesn’t matter, you don’t need an in depth knowledge of gender to get that violence against this community is wrong. Horrifyingly common and deeply wrong.
When trans people are constantly ‘othered’- treated as freaks rather than people, when they’re talked about in the media in a sensational way, when they’re always the serial killer, always the punch line of the joke, when the worst thing in the world that could happen is discovering the person you’re out on a date with is trans, we set the context in which this violence occurs. People are bullied, harassed, beaten. More subtle but just as devastating, finding and keeping employment, safe housing, maintaining connection to family, all can be so much more difficult. Rates of homelessness, mental illness, and suicide are frighteningly high. In healthy, inclusive, safe environments, they’re not! But so many trans people have to live in anything but safe places.
So, be aware. You don’t have to understand a lot if you don’t want to, that’s fine. But notice the sense of threat, fear, and revulsion that underlie the jokes and ridicule… They’re the same things that feed the violence. People are hurt, and every year, people die. Help your spaces; your family, your college, your church, your playgroup, your workspaces, be safer. These people are not victims or freaks. Trans people are highly diverse, just like all people, ranging from angels to scumbags. But no one deserves to be killed for using the ‘wrong’ toilet. We can do better.