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International Transgender Day Of Remembrance

Equality - 20 Nov 2019

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Today is International Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR) – a day to memorialise those who have been killed or who’ve taken their own life as a result of transphobic bullying and harassment; and to bring attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community.

Trans Day of Remembrance was founded in 1998 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a graphic designer, columnist, and activist, to memorialise the murder of Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts. Since its inception, TDoR has been held annually on 20 November and has slowly evolved from a web-based project into an international day of reflection.

The exact number of trans people killed each year is unknown. The deaths we hear about, are collated from newspaper and media reports from around the world, but many deaths go unreported. What we do know is that simply being transgender puts your life at risk. In 2019 a total of 331 cases where reported of killings of trans and gender-diverse people between October 2018 and September 2019.

331 people murdered for just being themselves.

While the majority of the murders occurred in Brazil, Mexico, and the United States, the UK is no stranger to transphobic violence and hate crime.  Shockingly, with a backdrop of tensions around Brexit, the number of transgender hate crimes recorded by police forces in England, Scotland and Wales was reported as having risen by a staggering 81% in 2019.

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Sadly this is a story I know too well. Not long after I started living my life as ‘out’ trans woman, on my way home from work, I was verbally abused and assaulted in a busy town centre, just minutes from where I work.

They screamed obscenities and abuse, straight in my face “He’s wearing woman’s Clothes! Freak!”  followed by, even more unpleasantly, spitting at me, then just turned around and strolled off like nothing had happened. I was left shaken, alone and scared.

This happened to me on several occasions

However, my fate is nothing compared to the 30 year old transgender man who was stabbed to death in Salford in February 2016 or last year Naomi Hersi who was stabbed to death in London. Both for being themselves. Both deaths that have torn families apart.

We know too that transphobia is very much a workplace issue too. A report from Stonewall in 2017 revealed that one in eight trans workers (12 %) has been physically attacked by a colleague or customer in the previous year.

These murders and transphobic attacks has to stop, not just across the UK but the whole world.

No one deserves to live in fear for their life.

No one deserves to be harassed or assaulted at work.

Our trans brothers and sisters have a right to live a safe life as them true selves.

Putting an end to the hate starts now, with all of us. I ask all my non trans readers, please be a trans ally and stand shoulder to shoulder with us to make it stop.

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