Since November 13th, we have been celebrating Trans Awareness Week by posting educational materials especially for our non-trans readers and followers. We’ve been doing this so people can gain a better understanding of what kind of health related risks trans people face as a result of systemic and structural transphobia. We’ve posted about mental health concerns in trans communities, about Intimate Partner Violence in trans communities, about the false correlation between anatomy and gender, and allyship. All of this has been in an effort to shine a light on the many barriers trans folx may face at some point in their lives.
November 20th marks Trans Day of Remembrance where we take some time to honor the lives of trans people who have been taken from us too soon. Trans Day of Remembrance started in 1998, when a trans women named Rita Hester was murdered in Allston, Mass. Her murderer is still at large. Unfortunately, her story is not unlike many other stories and, in particular, those of trans women. So in Boston and San Francisco we began to honor TDOR as a way to recognize the violent ways that transphobia takes people from our communities. Since then, the day has become nationally recognized for this purpose.
We now know that statistically the people being targeted the most are trans Black women. This particular oppression is called transmisogynoir and it’s the particular discrimination Black trans women face. Why is it important to talk about the intersection of race and gender? Because at least 26 Black and trans women of color have been taken from us this year alone. Statistics of hate crimes against Black and POC trans people have gone up since 2016 and people’s comfortability with trans people has decreased. So it’s very important to recognize this day and the intersections at play making some trans people’s journey dangerous in different ways than others.
That being said, give trans people their roses while they’re still alive. Too often they’re only celebrated after their deaths and it’s so unfortunate that the lives they live only become meaningful after death. On TDOR, ask a trans person how they’re doing, cook them a meal, do something to show them that you see them and you want to support them in their whole Selfhood. Be an ally by being present and sacrificing some of your comfort to make someone else more comfortable and seen. This is also why Trans Day of Visibility in March is so important as well.
From all of us here at The Center for Hope and Healing, happy Trans Awareness Week. Our solidarity is with all of you impacted this Trans Day of Remembrance.
Javier Andrés “Dre” Vargas
he/him/his & they/them/their
LGBQ/T Peer Specialist