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Have you ever heard of a day called the Transgender Day of Remembrance? If you are like most people then you probably have never heard of it. However, to the transgender community, it is the most important day of the year; Nov 20th. On that day, in every city in North America, Europe and places beyond; transgender men and women get together to remember their fallen comrades in the gender war.
Oh yes, it is a war waged against us for simply not conforming to the binary gender identities that most people cling too. For this crime we are condemned to poverty, loneliness, discrimination, harassment and violence. The worst part is the general population (at least where I live) thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to make fun of, harass and belittle transgender people as they go about their daily business. This ridicule leads to dehumanization, which leads to violence and death.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance started in 1998 when it was founded by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester in Allison, Massachusetts. Since the beginning, TDOR was celebrated in over 185 cities in 20 or more countries. It is a growing phenomenon and will eventually span the entire globe!
There are many reasons why we hold the Transgender Day of Remembrance; here are just a few of them; they spell R.E.S.P.E.C.T!
- Recognition – To gain recognition for the transgender plight in today’s society
- Equality – Working towards equality every day we try to make people aware of just how bad it is for transgender people and that they deserve equality with everyone else.
- Strength – The more solidarity we have as a social and political group; the more we can change things. Knowing that we are not alone in our struggle gives us great strength to live on in the names of the fallen.
- Potential – The reading of the names inspires us to live up to our potential for those who cannot.
- Education – TDOR helps to educate the general public about the plight of transgender people in our society and just how dangerous it can be for us.
- Community – It brings us together once a year strengthening our sense of community and helping to make new connections to help support each other in our daily struggle.
- Transgender – Helping the world know what being Transgender is all about and making visible the damage that is done to us by your brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and sons.
If you every get the change I explore you to please attend a TDOR to see what our community is really like. You will meet a wide variety of people and professions; doctors, lawyers, musicians and poets are but a small example of the variety of human experience that transgender people have. You can learn a lot from us and hopefully you will walk away from the experience knowing that transgender people deserve respect too!
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