Saturday, November 20 was the 11th Transgender Day of Remembrance. It was the day on which transgendered people remember those who have died violently in the previous year, victims of hate crimes against those who are gender diverse, or those that are assumed to be.
It is a day for remembering and honouring the fallen, with vigils, tributes, street marches and determination to change the future. It is not a day for celebration. It is not a party.
As Gwen Smith, who originated the TDR said of some of this year’s TDR events, “It is not a day for dancing on our graves”.
Which leads me to wonder why there were a number of events set for the same day, designed to emphasise the need for same-sex-marriage laws; a need which is of peripheral concern for transgenders, although it is recognised by us as a vital concern for the gay, lesbian and bisexual people.
Admittedly some of the ‘equal love’ events showed some concern for the TDR by asking for contributions from transgenders, but surely, as TDR is the one day we observe as an international recognition of those who have suffered violent death for no reason other than being the people they are, it could have been separated for same-sex marriage laws.
Transgenders support same-sex marriage for two reasons. They support it because everyone should have the same rights, and gays and lesbians have been denied these rights. They also support it on behalf of those transgenders who are already married when they transition, and are compelled by law to dissolve loving unions in order to have legal, documented recognition of their innate gender.
But we would appreciate it if on the Transgender Day of Remembrance we could be left to memorialise our dead rather than having it turned into a one-size-fits-all recognition of injustice. There is plenty of injustice to go around and plenty of days to resist it. Just leave us the 20th day of November to be our special day.
info: Katherine Cummings is an information and resource worker for the NSW Gender Centre.