Our Welfare & Inclusion Rep, Max Shenton, writes about Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Content warning: references to transphobia, murder, suicide, sexual assault, genocide.
Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) 2021 was on 20th November, as it always is. This was the 22nd annual TDoR, a day for transgender people worldwide to come together, mourn our lost siblings, and regroup as a community. TDoR was started in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honour the wonderful Rita Hester, a well-loved trans women who was a key part of her local rock and club scenes. In 1999 there was no way to track the amount of trans people killed for being trans, let alone track the countless suicides our community experiences due to the oppression, hatred, and vitriol we face.
In 2021, there have been 375 reported murders of trans people where their trans status was the reason for their murder. The UK doesn’t track transgender homicides. We are not seen as important enough to monitor even though our killers will happily admit that the only reason our lives were deemed worthy of taking was because we were transgender.
Our basic right to healthcare is being attacked, our right to go to the toilet in peace is being attacked, our right to exist in public spaces is being attacked, our right to live is being attacked, and we are being granted asylum abroad because the UK is too unsafe for us. This is being supported by mass media such as the BBC, the Guardian and the Daily Mail, and by celebrities such as JK Rowling, Lily Cade, Margaret Atwood, Ricky Gervais, and Graham Linehan, one of which, Lily Cade, has called for the corrective rape, lynching, and eradication of trans people. Yet we are seen as the dangerous ones.
This Transgender Day of Remembrance I ask you not only to help us mourn our losses and celebrate the lives that were taken from us too soon, but to help us in our fight to exist peacefully. You don’t have to join our marches; you don’t have to spend your days arguing with transphobes. Supporting us is as simple as listening when we ask for your help, making an effort to use new names and pronouns, asking us questions instead of making assumptions, correcting others when they make mistakes when referring to us, and not supporting people who actively campaign for our eradication.
To my fellow trans students: I see you, I love you, we will get through this. We will resist, we will thrive.