Every November 20, we mourn.
The Trans Day of Remembrance, or TDOR for short, was founded in 1999 to draw attention to the murder of a trans woman. Every year since then, trans people around the world mourn those who’ve been stolen from us.
Last year, 29 trans people were murdered in the States, setting a new record — one that could be broken this year, as the Human Rights Campaign has already reported 22 murders so far.
The hits keep coming for the trans community: the US government’s efforts to define trans people out of existence, the transphobic campaign on our own campus last year, and the declaration coming out of the provincial conservative conference, that they will no longer recognize “gender identity theory,” calling it a “unscientific ‘liberal ideology.’”
The person who proposed this last resolution, Tanya Granic Allen, had been ousted by the Conservative caucus for being too homophobic for them after a video came out in which she said that Croatian schools teaching about gay marriage (or as she calls it, “radical sexualization”), makes her want to “vomit in disbelief.” Or how about that time where she compared burqas to robbers wearing ski masks? This is the kind of company Doug Ford keeps (not withstanding accused Nazi Faith Goldy) even though he’s since said Allen’s motion won’t be going through.
Gender identity will also no longer be taught in Ontario public schools, effectively incapacitating gender studies programs. This flies in the face of actual science — trans people are real and valid, assholes — and is specifically aimed at silencing and hurting trans youth. We’re about one step away from teachers no longer being able to talk about trans people at all.
Just remembering that trans people (especially trans women of colour, who are statistically more at risk) are murdered and oppressed is not enough if we don’t mobilize and organize. Organizations that deal primarily with trans liberation do exist, such as Stonewall Militant Front, and more locally, the Stonewall Revolutionary Committee, among others. The Stonewall Revolutionary Committee took to the streets of Peterborough for Pride this year, to protest cis-normative narratives and in support of trans people of colour, in the vein of the politics of the Stonewall Uprisings.
This is just something to keep in mind, as we acknowledge the 20th international TDOR, as academic transphobes like Jordan Peterson, Germaine Greer, and specific jackasses at our school advocate for the removal of our rights and freedoms, and as “leaders” like Ford and the new Brazilian president want us to be erased from the public eye.
I leave you with a quote from Leslie Feinberg, a trans and queer revolutionary activist who helped bring trans activism to the mainstream: “Look at us. We are battling for survival. Listen. We are struggling to be heard.”