Transgender Day of Remembrance


November 20 is the transgender
day of remembrance
. I was appalled to read of the transsexual woman burned to death in her apartment after being videotaped with a politician. Tara Sawyer reminds us to that police profiling transgender women as sex workers contributes to violence against transgender women. Sex workers of all genders hesitate to report violence to the police in the US and in many other places. There is speculation that all the transgender people who were killed in the past year in the US did sex work. The fear of arrest contributes to violence against sex workers because people who commit violence against sex workers know that their crimes are likely to go unreported and uninvestigated. Some literally get away with murder.

In no other occupation are people blamed for the violence
committed against them. This is only tolerated because sex workers as a group are treated as external to society, and transgender sex workers are treated as still more separate. But gender diversity is not external to society. Transgender people have family and friends and colleagues who are deeply affected by violence against transgender people, including murder. Crimes go unreported not because no one cares but because they may not have the social clout to be taken seriously by the police, and because police have been reported to be callous and violent toward transgender people. Transgender Day of Remembrance is important because violence against anyone is unacceptable, no matter their gender.

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  • hthompson

    I would add that in addition to the really important points Melissa made about violence against trans people for being or being presumed to be sex workers, many trans people face emotional, psychological, economic, and physical violence unrelated to their participation in or presumptions about sex work.
    While Trans Day of Remembrance is importantly about trans sex workers who have been murdered, it is also importantly about trans people who take their own lives because of the abuse, discrimination, harassment, denial of services, and/or hatred that they faced in their lives. And it is about trans and genderqueer people (and partners of them) who are beaten and/or murdered for existing. And it is about people who know they are trans but will never get to live as who they are because of the fear and hatred in their families, communities, or societies.