Today (20th November) was the international transgender day of remembrance. Events and services were planned all around the world for people to get together and remember the murders of trans people. A few friends, Fox and me went to the Brighton Methodist center on St. James street where about fifty people eventually turned up and we had a lovely talk from Stef, from the Claire project and heard songs from an LGBT choir. There was also over a hundred lilac, purple and black cards laid out on a table in the middle of the circle with the names of trans people who had been murdered, their ages and where they died. For me the most moving part of the service was when we were invited to stick these cards on the wall. Reading the names on these cards made it real. These were all real people like me, who died because of who they were. After there was a chance to have tea and cakes and meet some of Brighton’s bestest trans folk.
One thing that surprised me though was the statistic that trans people of non-white ethnic origin are much, much more likely to be murdered or become a victim of crime. I have no idea why this is but it’s wrong. The plight of trans people who aren’t lucky enough to be born in such accepting societies needs to be highlighted. I know Paris Lees, of TransMedia Watch has recently travelled to Turkey to investigate their shockingly high murder rates for trans, it will be interesting to see what she has found out.
Two things prickled me though…
First and foremost, every political party was invited to join us and show their support. None could be bothered to turn up. In Brighton, arguably the UK’s most trans friendly city, not a single member of our great ruling parties saw fit to spend two hours of their Sunday afternoon to come down and give the trans community a visible message that they cared. Transphobic crime and murder happens in the UK a hell of a lot more than I want to imagine and I wanted to hear what the government was doing about it.
The collective ignorance from politicians in general says a lot about where trans people stand on their list of priorities. I, for one, would like an answer why!
The second thing that made me think was that although the TDoR was that it was a day for remembering our dead. More specifically though, it was to remember those murdered. What about the suicides? Depending on where you get the statistics from, fifty percent of trans people attempt suicide at some stage in their life. God knows how many succeed. This day should be for remembering our trans friends that have died, no matter how they died.