Transgender Day of Remembrance
Do the Math
by Laura Amato
Every year Transgendered people all over the world honor our dead on November 20th. This Day of Remembrance was founded by Gwendylon Ann Smith, a Transsexual who was outraged over the violent deaths of Transgender persons. The Observance is now honored world wide. Over 250 somber ceremonies will be held in 2005. Others like us will observe moments of silence to Remember our Dead. Already in November 2005 their have been 12 hate related deaths.
Transsexuals are a rare breed in our society it affects only 1 in 300,000 . Why then is our death by violence and our suicide rate so high? There are only a miliion or so of us. We're a drop in the bucket of the world population. Yet so many of our brothers and sisters won't make it til Christmas. Being born Transsexual is not our fault yet there's probably not one of us that can't relate a story of hate to us or someone we know. That's because the world sees us as choosing this lifestyle much like our Gay and Lesbian brothers and sisters. It doesn't take a smart person to know that no one would make this choice. We know what's going to happen to us.
Would you kill a person born with Down's Syndrome or laugh at someone who is crippled from birth? No, of course not. Yet daily People born Transgendered face a life of secrets, shame and fear. Unable to really be ourselves we often turn to suicide. It would be very difficult to find one of us who Hasn't at least thought of suicide, if not actually attempting it. Estimates have put our suicide rate from 31% or 9 times the average rate. Over 50% of Pre-op Transsexuals have had at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday. We're not nuts, just different. We should not only have a Day of Remebrance for vilolent victimes of Transgender crimes but a seperate day for TG Suicide victims.
Being Transsexual is a treatable medical condition. The aim is to make the body and mind the same gender. Surely we're all entitled to that. Yet getting identification is difficult, or jobs or even going to the bathroom is a maze that even Magellan couldn't navigate. If you can't pass as your new gender you are subject to ridicule, violence and even death. Post ops who marry can be left out of wills legally in many places as well as denied basic marital rights. While many have the right to the pursuit of happiness Gays and Transgendered are denied this basic human right. The violence and humiliation we suffer can even be inflicted by the police as well as the rest of the population. The FBI does not even acknowledge or keep statistics for Transsexuals and Transgendered. Our Deaths are ignored by them intentionally.
Either we can stand quietly by the sidelines as we watch our brethern get picked off one by one or we can get angry and stand and fight. After all we have nothing to be ashamed off. Did you realize that in the United States the FBI doesn't even count Transgendered violent deaths. We aren't even a blip on the radar screen of justice.
People have vowed to fix Society since the dawn of time. It hasn't happened and never will. The world won't respect us until we respect oursleves. Be proud of who and what you are. Forget the religions of hate and the slurs they heap on you. Stand up for yourself and be yourself. To be Transsexual is to realize that you do have strength to endure and overcome. If it is the strong that survive then we have to show our will will not be broken. Stand up to your friends, Stand up to your family, Stand up to your religion, Stand up to the world and most of all stand up for yourself. We are United and much stronger than we think.
"In September, 2005 the House of Representatives passed for the first time ever a bill that would give local law enforcement vital tools to fight bias crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans". Meanwhile in the Senate they are determined to exclude the Transgendered. Our numbers may be small and all our voices may raise is a squeak. Its still far better than suffering in silence. If you do the math discrimination of the Transgendered just doesn't add up yet it continues to happen.