Saturday, November 20, 2010

International Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today is International Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day when we remember trans men and women who have died, victims of hate crimes due to their sexual orientation.

As a cis feminist, I know I'm part of the problem. Most of the names on that list (and please realize the list is really much longer; these are merely the crimes that were reported) are trans women of color. Traditionally, "feminism" has ignored cis women of color; while we're "getting better" about thinking of cis women of color when fighting for "women," we have a long, long way to go when it comes to supporting and fighting for trans women, and especially trans women of color.

I feel awkward, "unqualified" to write about this day, about these lives and deaths, about these women's lives, because as a cis woman I know nothing of what they face. I was going to post a collection of links, like Arwyn at Raising My Boychick did, but since she did it already I'll be lazy and link to her. (Yes, I realize I'm a cis woman linking to another cis woman. But she has a good collection of links.)

You should also read It Makes Sense at Questioning Transphobia. (Actually, this whole archive is good reading material.) And Helen's post at Bird of Paradox. And Remembering Our Other Dead by lucypaw.

As someone else just tweeted, my voice is not one that needs to be heard or centered today, so I should stop writing and let you go read the posts linked above.

I just want to leave you with a thought, especially if you're a protected, cozy cisgendered person like myself: yeah, very few of us can fathom murdering another person, committing the acts described here. But that's not where it starts.

How many times have you heard someone make a joke about Ann Coulter being a man, and using that as a way to attack her political views? How many times have you laughed at that joke (or RTed that comment)? How many times have you sat there silently while a friend made that comment, without challenging the transphobic attitude that inspired it?

How many times have you laughed at a sitcom where the guy is put down by being called "a girl"? Or his worth as a man, as a human, is questioned because he does something "girly," and crossing gender boundary lines like that is an unforgivable sin?

Words have meaning, and they have power. Pay attention to how you use them, and how those around you use them. Let's work to make transphobia and transmisogyny NOT be so unquestioningly mainstream, so that next year's list can be at least a little bit shorter.
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