November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance

“Don’t get used to the violence. It’s not supposed to happen.” ~ Cecilia Gentili

Transgender Day of Remembrance is on November 20th every year to memorialize transgender people who have been murdered by the disease of transphobia.

I was in a medical facility recently and on the intake form, along with a long list of diseases and disorders to claim, was homophobia. I was taken aback. I had to read it twice to make sure I had read it correctly. And slowly a big smile came over my face. Yes. This is it.

Homophobia is the fear or dislike of non-heterosexuals. Identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, among others, is based on sexual orientation (the attraction a person has for someone else). Transphobia is the fear or dislike of transgender individuals. Identifying as transgender, genderqueer, gender-nonconforming, among others, is based on gender identity and expression (how a person sees themselves, identifies, and expresses their gender). Both homophobia and transphobia are rooted in a lack of knowledge and understanding, and the need to hold up heterosexuality and gender conformity (cisgender) as the standard against which everyone else is measured. To hold up this standard is a sickness.

Homophobia and transphobia, like sexism, racism, ableism, etc. are the smog in which we live. They are, in fact, diseases like any other. They stem from fear that can cause anxiety, both mental and physical symptoms, and when they continue unacknowledged and untreated, if exacerbated, can even cause murder.

On November 20, we memorialize all of the transgender people who have been murdered because of transphobia. Please take a few minutes and watch the interview of 3 trans women of color as they talk about what this day means to them. And if you want to know what YOU can do, please watch the second video that challenges us to consider the questions we ask, and how those very questions represent a hetero-normative reality that privileges some people at the expense (and lives) of other people.


Trans women tell GLAAD about their experiences in honor of Trans Day of Remembrance

Things Not to Say to a Transperson

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