One month on from Trans Day of Remembrance, Label continue to remember lives lost from the trans community with an article by guest writer, Steff Farley.
Content warning: violent transphobia, racialised violence
I’m many things, including an average middle-distance runner, a Scorpio and a superfan of 1983 critically acclaimed movie Flashdance. I’m also a trans woman and on 20th November, I attended a service at Loughborough as part of Trans Day of Remembrance.
Trans Day of Remembrance has taken place every year on 20th November since 1999. It’s a day to remember those who have been murdered because they have identified themselves as trans; unfortunately, that is enough to make some people kill individuals. It’s unbearably unfair when a life is taken too early. When lives are taken because they are trans, it is systematic unfairness.
This violence overwhelmingly affects trans women, in particular trans women of colour, with 75% of trans women killed in the United States since 2010 being black. This racialised transphobia is not brought up to minimise the violence against trans men or white trans people, but to acknowledge the unique violence black trans women face. This remembrance, we kept them at the forefront of our minds, and these statistics allow us to attempt to materially address the conditions of our society that lead to violence against trans people.
Of course, it’s insufficient to say that these people were killed because they are trans and some people hate trans people. We die because we so often find ourselves in situations in close proximity to violence where we have no protection, are vulnerable and rely on precarious or dangerous means of getting by. If we are serious about stopping the continuation of deaths that we remember on 20th November, then we must think about the function of gender in society and how trans people function within that.
Trans Day of Remembrance was introduced in 1999 in response to the murder of Rita Hester. New names are remembered every year; it becomes an expectation that the list will be long. For trans people, it’s expected that many of the community will be murdered each year. Trans Day of Awareness helps to provide perspective to those lucky enough to not have to think about that every other day.
Loughborough holds an annual, emotional service. Across the country, other groups hold similar services. Some hold vigils, which are slightly different as they have a more inherent symbolic objection to the current status quo, with a long history of vigils being used as a form of protest.
We can get desensitised by all the unfair, cruel things that we hear, but if you pause and take a moment to think about those that have been killed by the violence towards trans people, it can help overcome this.
Editor’s note: Label aim to be an unbiased publication; while we have members of the LGBT+ community within our volunteers and committee, we also attempt to portray no political or socio-economic leaning. The unedited version of this article can be found here. If you need to talk to anyone about the issues mentioned within this article, please contact LSU Welfare or Loughborough LGBT+.
Featured image by: Amie Woodyatt