Friday, November 21, 2008

November 20 is National Transgender Remembrance Day

Today (well yesterday, technically) is National Transgender Remembrance Day.  It is a day to send our thoughts and prayers to trans people that have been murdered in hate crimes.  There are a few interesting things to post on this subject.

Also, for those of you who are wondering why this is being posted on this blog, Obama IS America! is an INCLUSIVE blog and is trying to bring marginalized issues into the limelight.  The brutal killings of and bigotry toward transgender people has GOT to stop.  Some people are just born with genitalia and a physical form that does not reflect how they feel inside. What is so wrong with that?

Below, please find a blog post by *Autumn Sandeen* including some interesting comments and personal stories from readers of her post.

Below Autumn's blog post, please find a letter from the National Council for Lesbian Rights, on of the main law firms working for marriage equality, about National Transgender Remembrance Day, and dates/times/locations where vigils are being held in California.  Some of the vigils happened already, but there are still some that will be held tomorrow and this weekend.

Thank you.


Today Is The Annual Transgender Day Of Remembrance

by: Autumn Sandeen

Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:17:45 AM EST

I woke up tired this morning, after a really restless night of sleep. I dreamed I was in a hostage situation, and because I had to go to the restroom, the hostage takers were going to likely discover I was trans -- it was pretty clear to me in the dream that if those folks found out I was trans that I would be considered an spiritual abomination, and would be killed.

But it was only a dream.

For the 30 individuals on the Transgender Day Of Remembrance list, they were brutally killed because their killers felt real anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.

One of the last names added to the list this year was Lateisha Green. She was previously referred to by mainstream media by the name Moses "Teish" Cannon -- the headline read Syracuse man was killed for being gay, police say. But as Rod McCullom of Rod 2.0 filled us in, the Syracuse murder victim has now been identified as transgender.

Was she killed because she was gender variant in appearance? -- was it that Latiesha Green was a trans woman killed because she was perceived to be gay by her killer, ? From the articles, that's what appears to have happened:

Dwight R. DeLee shot and killed [Lateisha Green] with a .22-caliber rifle Friday night because he didn't like that Cannon was openly gay, Syracuse police said.

Thinking from a Matthew Shepard Act point of view, it's important to point out Teich was trans, and to point out she was perceived to be gay. If we leave either sexual orientation or gender identity and expression out of the Matthew Shepard Act...well, one of the lessons of Teish's death is that being trans or gay isn't always distinguishable in the perceptions of those who would harm us. To some people, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are functionally the same thing.

Lateisha GreenI guess changing the focus a little, do I need to mention Teish was a double minority? Of the thirty names to be remembered this year, listkeeper Ethan St. Pierre tells me that three of the names are for caucasian victims, and the other 27 are of those who would be members of ethnic minorities. I'm not 100% sure his ethnic breakdown is 100% accurate, but it is clear that we most of the 30 names will be reading tonight will belong to non-whites.

In 2005 I wrote a poem for a victim whose story I found while archiving for transgendernews. GLAAD, in their blog, they have that poem up -- for their series "What Does the Transgender Day of Remembrance mean to you?"

The stories mentioned in the poem are all real cases -- there actually are two three-year-olds on the list killed for being "sissies."

(The poem is below the fold.)

If you haven't thought about going to a Transgender Day Of Remembrance service already, please think about going to one this evening. Dyssonance provided a link in her diary to find out where individual local events are being held, worldwide. In San Diego tonight, we're having a candlelight march at 6:00 PM, and a service beginning at 7:00 PM -- both at our LGBT Center. I'll be there.  

Autumn Sandeen :: Today Is The Annual Transgender Day Of Remembrance
found dead in a garbage bin

I found another name.

Twenty-five names had made the list this past year, 
now it's going to be twenty-six. 
Gwen wrote 'I'll adjust materials shortly.'

This one was found dead in a garbage bin in a back alley. 
Found by a cleaner about 7.30 in the morning, 
the cleaner saw a pair of legs jutting out of the garbage bin... 
She initially thought a mannequin had been dumped into the garbage bin.

The victim was wrapped in a blanket, 
clad in a dark T-shirt, 
white shorts, 
and a padded bra. 
There was a single slash wound on the neck , 
and there were several bruises on the body.

Police didn't find any identification. 
The complexion indicated the victim may be Chinese or an East Malaysian.

Did I mention that the newspaper where I read the story 
called the victim a 'transvestite?'

That the victim was dressed in female clothing 
-- and had a penis -- 
I know to many that makes the victim's life less valuable. 
Perhaps we'd be wasting resources if we tried to find the killer.

After all, she was found in a garbage bin.

It's just, 
she's the twenty-sixth person added to the list 
of transgender people... 
people who've died due to transgender hate violence 
since November, 2004.

Twenty-five people had made the list this past year, 
now it's going to be twenty-six. 
One name on the list is that of a three year-old 
whose dad killed him 
because he thought he was acting like a sissy. 
Gwen just keeps adjusting the materials to reflect the killings.

I found another anti-transgender hate killing in an online newspaper last night. 
I've found six of the names on this year's list...


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Thanks (0.00 / 0)
Thanks for letting your readers know that today is Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.  It is so tragic that anyone is killed for being who they are and by speaking out about issues that affect the GLBT community we can help educate so violence like this will not continue!

Thank you for posting about this (0.00 / 0)
Violence against trans people is so very hard for many of us to write about.  I formerly lived in Madison, WI.  Two trans Madisonians have been murdered in the past two years (one a few blocks from my former abode, one while vacationing in Mexico).  This summer I moved to Syracuse, not far from where Teish Green lived and died.  I've also struggled through my own issues with verbal and psychological abuse from the outside world, as well as crippling depression prior to my own coming out.  I've lost a friend to those forces.  I consider myself lucky that it was only one friend, but am resigned to the fact that there will be more.

I really wanted to start blogging, or writing or speaking or something about all of this, but it can feel so hopeless at times.  I'm glad others, like Autumn, have the strength to keep speaking out-- it's not easy.  The DOR is a very, very important event for me, and its a big part of speaking out and processing this violence.

I learned of Teish Green's death while looking in the Syracuse paper for coverage of the prop 8 protest my family had attended.  A few days later, I remember sitting in front of the TV with my sweetie and hearing that there would be a vigil, 30 minutes hence.  We immediately packed up and headed for the car, not knowing where exactly the vigil was, or how to get around our new hometown, simply because we felt like we had to be there.   It was the least we could do, and the only thing we could think of.  Ultimately we weren't able to even manage that.  I was on the verge of tears for the first in a long time.  I don't want to feel that sort of fear, anger, frustration and sorrow again, and I sure as hell don't want to see yet another family go through what the Greens have been through this week.

I'm glad to see that there are other people out there that manage to avoid being paralyzed by the situation many trans people (particularly trans women of color face).  Thank you Autumn, Pam and many others for all that you do. 

I got lucky (0.00 / 0)
on June 22nd, 2007, I was walking home from another day of fruitless job hunting.  It was early evening, and I was passing through an area of empty corporate buildings, the sort that are full of life during the day, people working behind dark windows on the business of whatever the company leasing the cubicle space happens to be.

The day had ended for them, and they had gone home, and the parking lots were better lit than the street and I did not have glasses nor contact lenses then.  I saw better in the light.

IT had been a hot day and was going to be a hot night, and here I was in my skirt and my top, my little breasts at the time hidden by extra padding, my shoes hurting my feet, one little strap in particular digging into that pinky toe on my right foot.

I had to cross a tiny side street, and it wa a dark one, stret lamps at the far corner, and I was terrified underneath it all as this was still very new to me and I still had so much to learn.

I heard them a split second before they jogged into my path, and I put my head down and zigged away, shoulder tensing as I heard "faggot" and "gay freak".

They grabbed me.

In my life, I have done many things.  As I sit here and write this, I know that many of them I went through to give me the strength to walk out my front door today, knowing that I face that risk of dying the second I do, and that not even my own home is safe.

They knew.  I'd been clocked already, but it was as if they had to verify it by touch, as if they had to be certain as they pawed me all over, and I found myself stunned that was somehow unable to fight off two punks half my age when I'd been an Army Ranger.

I lived in fear, every day.

Fear of being discovered.  Fear of being hurt.  Fear of being "revealed to be a freak" which is what my fear of being called it really was.

I stopped being afraid as they hit me.

I also stopped being the person I had been.

Because I was trained a an Army Ranger, and I was lucky.

And I got away with only a couple broken ribs that I could never talk about,  little bit of blood on my forearms and my head, my wig and purse and shoes stolen, my house keys in my hand after a fight that left me bruised and cut on my left leg.

I was lucky.

I walked away.  I know how to fight when I have to.

I do not live in fear today.  I say that a lot.

I say it because when I cross a street that is dark still, I remember that I was called gay, and that I was hurt because of it.

I was not yet "full time".

I got lucky, though.

it only lasted for a little while.

Luck does that.

It runs out.

And when it does, you hurt.

Directing a house of transfolk is a challenge. Doing it well is a mission. 

LGBT Organizations Mourn the Loss of Transgender Victims of Violence

10th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance Recognized Throughout California

(San Francisco, California, November 20, 2008)—Community United Against Violence, Equality California, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Transgender Law Center mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters on the 10th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

This year, we remember the tragic deaths of Ruby Moreno, Lawrence King, and so many others in our communities who have lost their lives to violence and abuse. Ruby Moreno, a 22 year-old transgender woman, was killed this September, and found floating in the American River near Sacramento, CA. Lawrence King, a 14 year-old gay student who often wore make-up, jewelry and feminine clothing, was shot and killed at school by a classmate in Oxnard, CA. Ruby and Lawrence are painful reminders that violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people is a persistent, everyday reality for many in California. From 1970 to the present, California has had 55 documented murders of transgender people, the highest number in the country. These numbers do not begin to reflect the systematic discrimination and targeting that transgender and gender non-conforming people—particularly those who are also low-income, people of color, and immigrants—face in their daily attempts to access basic safe housing, employment, education, and public benefits.

“We receive calls every month from transgender people who have been victims of hate-motivated violence,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director at the Transgender Law Center. “On the Day of Remembrance, we reflect on the effects of violence on our lives and look to the hope and strength of our community. We remember Ruby and Lawrence and work even harder for transgender civil rights in their names.”

“As we mourn our transgender brothers and sisters who lost their lives to senseless acts of violence, we also honor those who live their lives with courage and integrity, often against great odds,” said Geoff Kors, Executive Director of Equality California. “On this day of remembrance, we redouble our commitment to ending violence, injustice, and discrimination everywhere that targets the transgender community.”

“Today, NCLR stands in solemn solidarity with our transgender brothers and sisters,” said Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “The deaths of Ruby and Lawrence are unthinkable tragedies and as we mourn their passing, we stand committed to honoring their legacy by continuing to fight for full dignity, respect, and equality for all LGBT people.”

“CUAV recognizes that we must confront the devastating cycles of poverty, illness, and criminalization that leave transgender communities—in particular low-income transgender women of color—vulnerable to such high rates of violence and abuse,” said Jovida Ross, Executive Director of Community United Against Violence. “As we honor those we have lost, we must rededicate ourselves to the task of building safe, powerful communities in which we all can thrive.”

Locally organized events are taking place all over California today, November 20, through Saturday, November 22.

Thursday, November 20th at 6:00 PM
Planned Parenthood Mar Monte,
633 N. Van Ness, Fresno, CA

Saturday, November 22th at 6:30 PM
A Church For All
721 North B Street, Sacramento, CA

San Diego
Thursday, November 20 at 6:00 PM
3909 Centre Street, San Diego, CA

San Francisco
Thursday, November 20th at 6:00 PM
815 Hyde Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA

Friday, November 21st at 7:30 PM
Congregation Sha’ar Zahav
290 Dolores Street, San Francisco, CA

San Jose
Thursday, November 20th at 7:30 PM
The Billy DeFrank Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community Center
938 The Alameda, San Jose, CA

Santa Barbara
Thursday November 20th at 6:00 PM
Corner of Anapamu and Anacapa Streets, Santa Barbara, CA

Thursday, November 20th at 6:00 PM
Watsonville City Plaza, Watsonville CA

West Hollywood
Thursday, November 20th at 6:00 PM
Plummer Park’s Fiesta Hall
7377 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA

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