Giving Compass' Take:
- On the occasion of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, Cassandra Roxburgh explains what trans solidarity really means.
- How can you engage in trans solidarity? What trans leaders in your community can you support?
- Read about a virtual giving circle that supports Black trans-led organizations.
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Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance on Nov. 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were taken in acts of anti-transgender violence. The day is preceded by Transgender Awareness Week, which is aimed at bringing attention to the transgender community through the sharing of our stories and experiences, through educating the public about transgender people, and through advocacy around issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the transgender community.
This all sounds good on paper. But does it do anything? I don’t know.
It is hard to feel hopeful about the future when 2021 was, in fact, the deadliest year on record for transgender people. Transrespect versus Transphobia, a research project run by Transgender Europe, reported that at least 375 transgender people have been murdered this year—a 7% increase over its 2020 report. Most of this data was collected from countries with an established network of trans and LGBTQIA+ organizations that conduct monitoring.
But these numbers are a small glimpse into the reality of transphobic violence. Many hate crimes and murders go unreported, meaning the actual number of trans people killed each year is almost undoubtedly higher than what is recognized every November. Crucially, the U.S. media frequently misgenders and deadnames transgender murder victims, despite the growing volume of media guides and best practices that offer reporters tools for accurate reporting on trans and nonbinary people. Even after death, transgender people are still stigmatized, with their murders being trivialized.
Transrespect’s report indicates that one in four trans people killed this year was killed in their own home. Furthermore, 96% of those killed globally were trans women or transfeminine people. Most victims were Black, and many were migrants or sex workers. This illuminates the intersections of misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and classism that often contribute to instances of transphobic violence.
This data simply proves what trans people like me already know all too well: Transgender people still experience disproportionate amounts of violence. In my social circle, I have yet to find a transgender person who has not experienced some form of violence this year.
The answer is mutual aid and trans solidarity. Neoliberal spaces are often eager to describe trans solidarity as placing pressure on legislators to create bills that entrench trans rights. However well-intentioned, this is not a reliable solution, as these bills are often drafted with little input from transgender people, and the introduction of such bills can spark a backlash that can manifest as harassment or even increased violence.
Read the full article about trans solidarity by Cassandra Roxburgh at YES! Magazine.