Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today is the 13th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Here’s a link of those who will be memorialized today. For those in Georgia, today’s annual recognition will take place at the LGBT Resource Center at the University of Georgia in Athens. A display of those who have been lost this and in past years will be available for visitors to see. The center is in Tate Plaza at 45 Baxter Street in Athens. For more info, visit the Center’s Facebook page.

Some of those who will be remembered this year are:

  • Tyra Trent of Baltimore, Md., who was found dead in a vacant home
  • Miss Nate Nate (or Née) Eugene Davis of Houston, Tx., who was murdered.
  • Lashai Mclean of Washington, D.C., who was shot to death.
  • Gaurav Gopalan of Washington, D.C., who died from a subarachnoid hemorrhage due to blunt-impact head trauma.
  • Shelley Hilliard of Detriot, Mich. Her body was decapitated, burned and dismembered.
  • Chassity Nathan Vickers of Hollywood, Calif. She died from a gunshot wound to the head.

I don’t recall writing much about this last year, but since I’ve become more entrenched with blogging about social justice, this topic could no longer remain untouched on my end. Many bloggers who like to believe they are allies with progressive minds and ideologies, a transphobic atmosphere remains in the left-leaning blogosphere, as many bloggers have refused to acknowledge the presence of transgender folks among us.

As a straight, cisgenderd black woman, I know I face many various intersecting oppressions, but I’ve come to terms with the idea that my life may be spared because I’ve accepted the cisgendered model of living my life. I’ve come to grips with the sobering reality that my black transgender sister may lose her life because she shunned the burden of conformity placed upon her by society.

While cisgendered gays, lesbians and bisexuals have become more accepted in our society, our transgender brothers and sisters remain on the outside, ridiculed by society at large. Along with the rampant transphobia presence in our society, transgender people of color face the compounding effects of a society filled with macro- and microaggressive forms of racism.

Some of what’s noted in the report:

  • 34%  of black transgender people report having an income of $10,000 or less per year;
  • 49% of black respondents reported they’ve attempted suicide;
  • 49% of blacks who attended schools as trans people reported “alarming” rates of harassment, 27% reported physical assault and 15% reported sexual assault at school.
  • The black transgender unemployment rate stands at 26%
  • 32% of black transgender folks lost their job due to transphobia and 48% were not hired due to that bias;
  • 15 percent of black transgender people were physically assaulted at work while 13 percent were sexually assaulted;
  • 50 percent of black transgender folks reported they were forced to sell drugs or perform sex work just to get by;
  • 41% said they’ve experienced homelessness at some point in their lives;
  • 20% are HIV-positive while an additional 10 percent don’t know their HIV status;
  • 21% have reported they were denied medical care due to bias
  • 34 percent reported they’ve postponed seeking medical care for the fear of facing bias
  • 38 percent have reported they’ve experienced harassment by the police, with 14% reporting physical assault and 6% percent reporting sexual assault;
  • 51 percent reported discomfort in seeking law enforcement assistance

These numbers should startle one into the realities of what our transgender brothers and sisters face. These statistics should awaken anyone to the realities of what many of our transgender neighbors, friends, loved ones and co-workers have to wrestle with on a daily basis in a society that devalues them because they do not conform to the cisgender models of appearance.

Today, I’m lighting a candle to remember those who’ve lost their lives because they rejected cisgendered norms our society forced upon them. I’m lighting a candle for those brave souls who chose individuality and freedom rather than a life filled with stifling congruence.