Today, 20th November, is Transgender Day of Remembrance, or TDoR for short. TDoR was founded in 1998 “to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.” In the past 12 months, there were 325 reported murders of trans and gender-diverse people globally. This is considered to be a low estimate, as numbers are based only on reported murders, and there are many regions of the world where there are no statistics at all, due to lack of reporting mechanisms.
However, trans and gender-diverse people are killed not only by active violence, but also by passive violence endemic in social, economic, political, medical and legal structures. Anti-transgender hatred and prejudice is institutionalized in contemporary society, and the swing to right-wing politics across the globe is a worrying trend that will only impact further upon the most vulnerable in our society. There are so many facets of trans people’s existence that results in our deaths. Lack of access to legal gender recognition, lack of recourse to justice due to state-perpetuated violence towards gender-diverse bodies, failure by the medical systems to ensure that trans and gender-diverse people have access to basic medical care: in short, failure of the systems that we live in to protect the most vulnerable in our society. Poverty is killing us.
TDoR is a day of remembrance. But this year, GATE calls on the global trans communities and our allies to go one step further. Remembrance implies that the fight has been won, and this fight is far from over. We need to remember that violence toward trans people is intersectional: skin color, language, nationality, religion, drug use, socio-economic status, HIV status and sex worker status – these intersections place trans people at the forefront of structural discrimination that is officially sanctioned by governments globally. When it comes to ensuring that trans people are treated as equals to our cisgender (non-trans) peers, we have to consider all aspects of discrimination cohesively.
Trans people are still struggling to be legally recognized by our families, our communities and our state bodies – our names and pronouns are dismissed, our requirement for access to life-affirming transition-related healthcare is ignored or actively legislated against, our bodily autonomy is disrespected by state bodies and our right to safety and privacy are stripped away by the very institutions set up to protect us. Anti-trans sentiment is on the rise, and the numbers collected since 2009 by the Trans Murder Monitoring project from 33 countries of trans people murdered demonstrates that trans people are facing global genocide.
On 20th November 2017, GATE honors Trans Day of Remembrance by calling on our communities and our allies to remember not only those who have lost their lives due to active violence, but also to remember those who lost their lives due to systematic neglect, intersectional discrimination and state-led violence. We ask you to also remember that this fight is not over yet – speak up against institutional discrimination, and stand up for our siblings around the world and in our local communities who are facing intersectional discrimination due to their race, health, socio-economic situation, migrant status or sex worker-status. We need our allies to speak up, we need to protect everyone in our communities and we need to work together to push for global political change.
Remember the 325 trans people who were murdered in the last 12 months. Remember the unknown number of trans people who died due to institutionalized discrimination and neglect, historically and today. Remember that we cannot stop fighting until trans people are respected and protected by society and by our governments. Remember that the fight still continues, and we won’t stop until we win.
The GATE Team
 TvT research project (2017) “Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) TDoR 2017 Update”, Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide. From TvT project website: http://transrespect.org/en/trans-murder-monitoring/tmm-resources/
For more information, facts and figures from the Trans Murder Monitoring project, go to their website.
For videos, posters and name lists to share on social media for TDoR 2017, go to Transgender Europe’s website.