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Transgender Remembrance Day

By: Colleen Curtin, Youth Program Coordinator, DVN

Recently, an important day was observed – Transgender Remembrance Day. We are called to reflect on and remember the precious lives lost to violence across our country and in our own community due to transphobia. In addition to honoring lives lost and celebrating the legacies of those gone too soon, we are also challenged to commit to ending the pervasive violence against members of our community. The scope of the problem is deeply troubling when we take a moment to consider the violence experienced by the trans community.

While not all of these acts of violence were committed by intimate partners, we know that the widespread violence against this community contributes to the high rate of intimate partner violence experienced by trans identifying members of society. The most recent national data from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey indicates that 54 percent of trans identifying individuals have experienced intimate partner violence. There are some unique challenges and barriers that impede reporting and accessing help. The Gender, Violence and Resource Access Survey found that 50 percent of trans respondents reported that they had been assaulted or raped by a partner. There are too many barriers to list in this blog post that impede the trans community from accessing services more quickly or even being served adequately. We are not powerless. We can change this. We can say NO MORE. Our very words in fact have an enormous amount of power.

The normalization of violence, especially violent rhetoric in our culture has a direct impact on the lives of every member of our community, and often a very direct impact on certain people. Imagine being a young person whose peers, family, and community are constantly treating them inappropriately and unhealthily or even being abusive. After awhile that young person might just learn to accept that kind of treatment from others, including intimate partners. For trans folks this isn’t something that MIGHT happen, it is something that frequently DOES happen. Transphobic language is omnipresent. It’s in the poor jokes told by washed up comedians. It’s in misinformation and degrading language used in political debates and school board meetings. It’s in the refusal of a teacher to call a child by their name or to use their pronouns. It’s in the ugly names children call one another on playgrounds.

Our poor communication is constantly sending a message and we need to be mindful of the ways we contribute to systemic violence as a whole. We are a powerful force not only as individual but as a network as a whole. Our allyship and advocacy are critical to the culture change we are committed to creating, and to fostering an environment where dignity is inherent, respect is for everybody, and violence is unacceptable. Trangender Remembrance Day isn’t just about remembering, it’s about committing to speaking up and speaking out for each and every member of our community.

Sources

National Report

http://www.transequality.org/sites/default/files/docs/usts/USTS%20Full%20Report%20-%20FINAL%201.6.17.pdf

Indiana Report

http://www.transequality.org/sites/default/files/docs/usts/USTSINStateReport%281017%29.pdf

Trans Women and Domestic Violence

https://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1307&context=bglj