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Nov 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance or TDoR as its commonly called, is coming up on Nov 20. To those unfamiliar, it is a day dedicated to honoring Transgender folks who have died outside of natural circumstances. What started as a candle light vigil over the death of Rita Hester in 1998, is now observed across several cities and countries in the world.

I get together with some of my friends over a potluck, cloth exchange/drop-off and an open mic event, organized by my dear friend Paul. Over the past few years I have seen parents of Trans kids come along to show their support and talk about the success, struggle and the needed change. Its a day where emotions run wild for me. I am filled with sorrow over the numerous Trans folks who have been killed by bigots, been murdered, slaughtered or killed themselves or have just disappeared from the radar. I am engulfed with anger when I see the media and the law enforcement agencies continue to use the wrong gender pronouns while describing their tragic death. Even in death, no one gets it. That said, I am happy I made it so far. I had come close to making stupid calls in my life. For once, I feel lucky enough to get past those with whatever strength I had.

This year has been particularly wild. The Nation’s capital, DC has rocked us with a spate of murders particularly against the community of color. There was the McDonald incident in Baltimore where a trans woman was physically assaulted while the employees and most customers were busy recording the incident. There was someone close to my home who was assaulted and spent a week at the hospital and after a week the SF police called it a hate incident. And, there are so many more that get unreported. And if they do, one has to fight really hard to register them as hate crimes.

Image: Numbers of recorded murders of trans people worldwide, in just the last three years (Click to enlarge)

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This post was originally published on Gaysifamily.com and cross-posted with permission.

This post is also available in: தமிழ் (Tamil)

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  1. Just to add a few pointers to what rashmi articulated. And i certainly don’t want to sound instructional but as we say ‘the moment our bell started to toll’ (in plain words firm decision to transition) it is imperative to realise that we can no longer avail ourselves certain freedom and privileges which we took for granted before and late night revelry is one of them.

    Secondly, if dating someone who is unaware of the past, let them know the truth before both your lips meet. (if the other person is phobia the things can get really violent if they feel threated that they are gay)

    unexpected events do happen at dates so if you are on a date, it is always better to leave your whereabouts some good friend or acquaintance and most importantly have them call you in the middle of the date for a casual checkup.

    1. Thanks Brenda. Very well articulated.
      I however disagree with the second point. While it might be a good idea and suggestion, I don’t think it is necessary and the decision to share the past should be absolutely the individual’s prerogative . If my date is a jerk, and if the person finds it a necessity to share my entire past, it puts trans folks at a higher morality than the rest, which in my eyes is prejudicial. This is a nice gesture if my date is forthcoming about themselves and not be a hypocrite in demanding from me alone.
      There is a thought amongst some Trans folks in the community that having to share the past is retrogressive. While I have my concerns about that, I support their choice to make a decision about their own lives.
      Thanks for sharing Brenda. I look forward to more discussions with you 🙂 Hugs!!!

      1. Thanks Rashmi for getting us to remember those who have lost their lives because of transphobia. Transphobic violence – whether directed at transgender people, or at those who do not consider themselves transgender, but nevertheless defy gendered norms of appearance (effeminate boys/men, masculine girls/women, cross-dressers) – has been responsible for many direct assaults and homicides here in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere in India.

        The Karnataka People’s Union for Civil Liberties report on Human Rights Violations details some horrific experiences of transphobic violence based on interviews with kothi and hijra sex workers in Bangalore. It is downloadable from http://sangama.org/files/PUCL%20Report.pdf

        Equally insidious is the indirect killing of trans and genderqueer people through neglect in healthcare settings. It is partly the fear of transphobia from healthcare providers that prevents trans and genderqueer people from seeking medical treatment, leading to deaths from diseases that could have been prevented had they sought treatment earlier.

        Let us also remember the suicides of trans and genderqueer people who chose to end their lives rather than continue to face violence and trauma.

      2. Hi rashmi, sorry for posting this late response. But i am not of the same wavelength in this regard. when i put down the second point, the key essence breaks down to this, My past is my own and no one else gets an easy preview to it and neither was i advocating the immediate outing at first date, But if one decides to take the relationship beyond first date, I would fully reveal my past before getting it any further. II mean effectively it boils down to this, would you start a relationship hiding your past? If you answer is no, then the ideal time to tell you potential partner is before things start to get physical.

  2. Thanks Rashmi for sharing this beautiful and moving piece with Orinam. It is very sad to see precious lives killed and lost due to ignorance and phobia. I hope we, especially the LGBT community, take days like TDoR, as an opportunity to know more about the lives, issues and struggles of our Transgender friends. We are all in this together and it is up to all of us to make this world a better place. Love and hugs!

  3. Rashmi, Thanks for this article on TDoR. Every courageous action taken to combat transphobia (such as this article) go a long way towards making this world a better place.

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