Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) 2018 – Stop the Normalisation of Anti-Trans Hatred

 

Brussels, 20th of November 2018

Today we celebrate and mourn all the trans lives that have been lost to prejudice and violence. This Transgender Day of Remembrance, we are particularly concerned with the spread and normalisation of anti-trans hatred, and the lack of visibility the community encounters in Europe and beyond.

Despite some crucial advances for trans rights this year, including a  move towards the depathologisation of trans people by the World Health Organization, the trans community worldwide face numerous challenges, also fuelled  by the rise of the far-right and conservative movements in Europe and beyond.

Between 2008 and 2018, almost 3000 trans and gender-diverse people were killed across the world, and the numbers keep rising. According to the most recent data, from the Transrespect vs Transphobia Worldwide Trans Murder Monitoring project (TMM), there have been 369 cases of reported killings of trans and gender-diverse people between 1st of October 2017 and 30th of September 2018. These killings also clearly reflect an overlap with discrimination and hatred towards black and people of colour and sex workers. TMM data shows 62% of the victims whose occupations are known are sex workers. In the United States, trans women of colour and/or Native American trans women make up 85% of the cases. Meanwhile in Europe, in the countries to which most trans and gender-diverse people from Africa and Central and South America migrate to (France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain), 65% of the reported murder victims were migrants.

Just this weekend trans activists at a demonstration in Ukraine were attacked by the far-right. While over the last year we have observed the normalisation of anti-trans narratives in the media in Western Europe. Bulgaria’s failure to ratify the Istanbul Convention due to its definition of gender, reveals the unwillingness to recognise trans persons’ valid existence and experience, vastly ignoring the violence the community faces.

In South America, with the election of far-right and outspoken homophobic candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, one of the countries with the highest figures of transphobic violence, the trans community is living in fear. In the United States of America, Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services is considering an interpretation of Title IX, the federal civil rights law banning sex discrimination in federally funded schools. With the administration aiming to define sex as “either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with”, trans people in the U.S. would be effectively stripped of fundamental rights.

“Transgender people are at the forefront of our struggle, facing threats of violence and death every day. We can’t afford anything but rigorous attempts to force our governments to exercise zero tolerance towards hate crimes. The responsibility rests upon all of us to keep up the fight with all the available means to make sure that transgender people are protected.”, says IGLYO Board member Mari Kurtanidze.

Euan Platt, IGLYO’s Executive Co-ordinator adds,  “When political leaders attack the rights of transgender people, it sends a clear message to their citizens that discrimination and violence are acceptable, emboldening those who already hold bigoted views. IGLYO condemns such fostering of hate and division, which will only lead to more lives being tragically lost.”

This Transgender Day of Remembrance, we are calling for solidarity both within and outside the LGBTQI movement. Remembering that the modern fight for LGBTQI rights has been started by trans-people of colour, which continues to be disproportionately affected by violence, we are also calling for a deeper understanding and practice of intersectionality that allows us as a diverse community to critically examine the ways in which different oppressions are intrinsically interconnected.

We pledge to continue to defend trans people’s self-determination, visibility, and full enjoyment of rights, and to educate and work with young people and their educators on the deconstruction of the harmful stereotypes that plague the trans community.

Dear trans siblings: you are not alone.

 

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Transgender Day of Remembrance – TDoR – honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

It was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, an African-American transgender woman killed in 1998.

 

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© 2018 IGLYO, Chaussée de Boondael 6, Brussels B-1050, Belgium.