Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Trans Day of Remembrance: A Message from Our Executive Director

It's Trans Day of Remembrance. As I've said before, this is a day that I find very difficult. There are two temptations here: One is to use TDoR as an opportunity to talk about how trans women have been, are now, and will always be poor, pathetic, pitiful victims. That's horrifyingly wrong. Trans people are strong, complete human beings. I recently had someone come up to be at an event I was speaking and say, "I'm so sorry this happened to you," about my being trans, as if it were a disease or a terrible accident that had befallen me. It is wrong to treat transness like a curse.  If we treat transness like something that will always be inseparable from violence and discrimination, it suggests that it is normal and natural for trans people (especially trans women of color) to face violence and discrimination, that it's just how things are.

The other temptation is to shift the focus to trans folks (usually white, middle-class trans folks) who are doing okay. It's wonderful that some trans people are thriving; it's beautiful and good. Still, the success of some people in a community doesn't make up for the violence against the rest of it.

So, how do we find the middle place between treating being trans like having cancer and ignoring the challenges that trans people face?

It will require a lot of work, but I believe that one of the first steps is to accept the simple fact that trans and gender non-conforming people are a normal, natural, and healthy part of the human species, that we always have been and always will be. It is simply nonsensical that people would be mistreated over being trans or gender non-conforming. We need to recognize that no one is an acceptable victim, that violence against trans people is nothing more than an ugly abnormality which we need to end.

Vivian Taylor is the Executive Director of Integrity USA

1 comment:

Julia Marshall said...

WE lost another girl on the 19th. Kylee Johnson from California jumped to death from a Freeway bridge. She had attempted suicide about 2 months ago and was unsuccessful. Her vlogs and story are still on blogspot to be read. Please mention her as she was a smart, kind, and beautiful woman. I will miss her greatly.
Julia Marshall