Written by Anji, your Trans Officer.
Hi everyone. I’m Anji (they/them), and I’m your Trans Officer at the Union. Today, 20 November, is Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR).
I’d like to preface this with a few trigger warnings. This contains mentions of suicide, transphobia & discrimination. It’s okay to take a step back if that might affect you. At the end of the day, Trans Day of Remembrance is about love for all people, and that includes you.
TDoR is an incredibly important day for us all. It was started in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honour Rita Hester, a Black trans woman whose murder has remained unsolved. The tradition has remained since, with institutions (like our own) and individuals coming together to remember and stand by our lost trans friends and family, and to support those we’re lucky enough to still have with us.
In 2014, a study found that 41% of all trans and gender non-conforming people in the US have attempted suicide at some point in their lives. In the UK, reported transphobic hate crimes have quadrupled in the past six years, while a Government Equalities Office study has shown that a concerning 88% of trans people don’t report the hate crimes they experience.
It's really easy for TDoR to become reduced to statistics – the numbers are clearly harrowing and they’re definitely important – but we can’t let that be it. Trans people are so much more than just numbers making up these heart wrenching statistics, we’re a community. Our experiences deserve respect, value, and understanding, just like anyone else’s. While these statistics give us some insight into the daily challenges faced by trans people worldwide, it’s crucial to remember that they’re not set in stone. These studies aren’t carried out for us to accept them. The numbers are unacceptable, and we’re all well within our rights to do something about that.
There has been a global, coordinated, dangerous attack on trans people for decades, and it’ll take work to counter that, but I truly believe we’re capable. Anti-trans sentiments are inherently linked to misogyny, racism, classism and colonialism, something Britain has been key in perpetuating – it’s important we see our role in that part of history.
Regardless of our own identities, I think we all have a duty of care to each other. We have a collective responsibility to stand with our trans siblings – those we’ve lost and those still with us. There will be many vigils held across the country today. I encourage you to attend one, even if it’s online. Solidarity is more important now than ever. Trans people are powerful and even more so with the support of cisgender allies. Don’t let this day be about the statistics – let it be about the people.