By Rachel Luna
When I write for this blog, I write from various perspectives: as a student affairs professional, an educator, a tech nerd, etc. I also write from my perspective as a cisgender woman. As someone who identifies in this way, I reap multiple privileges, many of which represent safety. For the most part, I can use the restrooms where I feel most comfortable, people will call me by my preferred name, and I do not have to justify my existence or humanity based on my gender identity. Unfortunately, for many members of the global transgender community, safety in these ways and others is inadequate or nonexistent.
This Thursday is the 16th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR). Held each year on November 20, this day serves to memorialize people who have been killed due to transgender hate or bias. Events often include a vigil and reading aloud the names of victims who have been killed in the past year (this year’s list is a staggering 11 pages long so far).
A 2013 National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report shows increases in reports of physical hate violence in 2013 compared to the previous year, with transgender women and people of color among those facing the highest risk of homicide. Data from a national survey on transgender discrimination indicate that 1 in 4 members of the trans* community have experienced violence. College campuses and higher education are not immune from these social realities as 35% of respondents reported experiencing harassment and bullying in higher education settings.
One way to honor the victims of transphobia is by observing this day and working toward making our campuses and communities safer and more inclusive for all people. So on Thursday, I invite you to acknowledge and honor the victims of trans* hate, perhaps in one of these ways:
- Attend a TDoR event – Find an event in your area (check this list of events or this one).
- Host a vigil and/or dialogue in your community- Create space to host an event in your office, on your campus, or in your neighborhood to honor the victims and reflect on this day.
- Educate yourself – Enhance your awareness and build your knowledge about the trans* community and issues facing this population. Read articles (like this one) or visit your campus or community LGBT center to learn more.
- Honor intersecting identities – I currently work at a health sciences institution, so in addition to memorializing the victims of the past year, I’m screening and discussing a short film regarding transgender cultural competence for medical providers. You can explore available resources for a variety of intersecting identities, such as the Trans People of Color Coalition and Trans*Athlete.
- International Transgender Day of Remembrance
- 2013 Report on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Hate Violence from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
- “Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey” from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National LGBTQ Task Force
- TDoR Resource Page from GLAAD
- “10 Misconceptions that Every Trans Ally Needs to Understand” by @BrynnTannehill