Trans Day of Remembrance

  • Nov. 20th, 2010 at 7:41 PM
la_vie_noire: (Claymore10 about to cut)
It makes sense.

The trans community’s marked by violence – so many of us have experienced it, live with it, and so many of us die from it. When we hear that one of us have died, we remember the violence we faced, the threats, the fear we live with.

And yet, whenever a trans person is murdered, the very first thing we trans people have to do is sort through the layers and layers of transphobic misinformation from police, media and families in order to work out who that person was, how they lived their life, what their appropriate pronouns and identifications were.

Because the words are almost always wrong, and almost always an act of erasure. First they will begin by making a reference to assigned sex, as something this person “is” – most commonly, “a man was found in woman’s clothing.” And it’s like, ok it’s certainly possible for it to have been a male crossdresser. We must be cautious and not jump to conclusions, because that would be an act of erasure. And it is after all being reported as a fact by the media. It “makes sense,” because the “knowledge” of the majority always makes sense.

And then they will use an assigned name, a name given to the person at birth. But then, almost always, it will turn out that wait no it was a trans woman. And then we find out that she’d changed her legal name. And had been on hormones. And she was most certainly not known by the name she was assigned at birth to the people in her life. That yes, she was a woman, that she lived and died as a woman, not a “man in women’s clothing.”

But none of that matters to the institutions that create someone’s public memory. Because another reality has intervened – cissexual reality – and how she lived and who she was has disappeared.

Because in all likelihood maybe her real legal name will be put in quotation marks after the false name she discarded – like she was just living some wacky nickname which everyone indulged – and maybe she will be referred to as “a transsexual,” this mystical beast which is somehow not a woman. But she will rarely if ever be described as a transsexual woman by the media, and certainly never as just a plain woman.
la_vie_noire: (Anthy flower)
Gudbuytjane writes Day of Remembrance:

I used to distance myself from the Trans Day of Remembrance. It made me angry, and in ways I couldn’t discuss with my mostly cisgender community (as some of that anger was directed at them, inevitably). I would rail against the broader queer community only ever focusing on TDOR, and the implications that had for trans women. I found candlelight vigils a hypocrisy against the marginalizing and tokenizing that happens every day to us in queer communities, and I was infuriated that the only thing cisgender queer culture seemed to have as a comment on my experience as a trans woman was “You might die one day for what you are. Violently. Remember that.”

[...] The most important voices to be heard are our dead, and the responsibility for those voices lies with those of us who are still alive. Not for cis culture to consume, not even for ourselves, but for these women who are no longer with us; By giving them dignity we give ourselves dignity, and demand it from a culture which withholds it from us. Even if it is only knowing their name or a tiny bit of their story, it gives back to them some of the humanity their killers took.

Although cisdominant media inevitably focuses on the murders of these women, pieces of the stories of their lives nonetheless get through. This is how she died is supplanted for brief moments by This is how she lived. Amplify that. Know the stories of their lives, and tell the stories of your own. Not just on November 20th, but every day.


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