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For many it’s a day of grief and sadness, as we remember siblings lost to transphobic violence. For others, it’s a day to step up to the plate, and to push for change in all elements of society. It often serves as a stark reminder of the issues still facing the community, and the violence faced on a daily basis, both physical, and societal.
Overcoming these barriers will inevitably be a long and drawn out process. Today we begin with remembering. This year has already seen 389 trans people murdered simply for being. Their lives were cut short by bigotry and intolerance, fuelled by a rhetoric of hatred and ridicule that permeate all elements of our daily lives. We remember how the price they paid for living authentically was death, a sentence handed down by a narrative which viewed them as freaks, or jokes. Every transphobic sitcom joke, every off hand slur, every sly remark feeds into a narrative that trans people are less.
We also remember the victims who were not murdered directly, but died as a result of transphobia. Those who took their own lives, those who were forcibly removed from their families for being trans and died on the streets, those who died due to a lack of care, all are remembered on Trans Day of Remembrance. It is equally important to acknowledge that these deaths are not coincidental – they are an intrinsic and orchestrated part of trans oppression. The systems that exist in our world, from media to government help to promote transphobia.
But we can fight this. An end to trans violence is possible, and through combined efforts and unity, we will make it. Building a world that is safe for trans people is not an impossibility, nor should it be a pipe dream. Tangible efforts to improve the lives of trans people are being made – improvements to health care and access to surgeries, more comprehensive education on gender issues in schools, and financial support for low income individuals are key not only to trans liberation, but to the liberation of all. Trans rights are human rights, and reducing violence for trans people means reduced violence for everyone.
Two vigils will be held today, one in the Chapel from 13:30-14:00, and one in Founder's Square from 19:30. Both are open to all, regardless of gender identity or faith.
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