Saturday, November 13, 2010

Transgender Day of Remembrance in The LGBT Community

International Transgender Day of Remembrance will be celebrated on November 20th 2010. It will be the 12th annual day of remembrance. Why is this day important to not only those of us in the LGBT community, but to our allies, and families? It is on this day that we remember the many transgendered victims of hate crimes. Transgender Day of Remembrance saw its birth in the 1998 brutal slaying of Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Although Ms. Hester is the one for whom the vigils started, there have been other victims such as Brandon Teena (born Teena Renae Brandon), a 21-year-old trans man, who was raped and murdered on December 31, 1993 in Falls City, Nebraska. Sadly the list is one that has grown over the years. It is why the importance of such a day cannot be over emphasized.

As a gay man that has been a victim of hate crimes, I cannot in due conscious, write this post without bringing up some key points. One of the major key points I’d like to make is the fact that even among the gay and lesbian community, transgender members of our community often feel left out and isolated. In a world that we know is sometimes severely bigoted and judgmental, it is unfathomable that we sometimes forget that sexuality and gender identity is not a choice. Why think of someone who is transgendered as less than anyone, simply because they (like myself as a gay man) are different? Sadly it has a lot to do with how we see sexuality. Rigid. Boxed. Fixed. Just as it is not right for anyone to commit crimes against gays and lesbians, it is a crime (to me) to wrongfully judge and characterize those in the same struggle for equal rights as us. Still, we often ridicule and make fun of someone whom, by no fault of their own has sexual or gender feelings different from ourselves. Transgender persons have not chosen their sexual identity any more than any other member of the LGBT community has. To believe so, is a holdover of ignorance from days gone by on our part.

To know that so many hate crimes have been committed recently against transgendered members of the LGBT community is horrifying. The amount of crimes this year alone, not only in the U.S. but Puerto Rico as well, has been staggering. The murder of Ashley Santiago Ocasio, in Puerto Rico this past Summer, as well as several others, has taken a toll on our community. Unfortunately, these atrocious murders have also been increasing here in New York. Most notably the murder of Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar, who was found strangled in her Queens apartment. This in not only happening in America. In Turkey 35-year old Derya Y and.Aycan (Fevzi) Yener, two transgender women, were brutally murdered in February. More on the deaths of those two victims of hate can be found here. This is why we must tackle this increase in hate crimes and bigotry against those in our transgendered community. We must bring more awareness to all hate crimes, regardless of where in the world it happens.

If by any chance you are not aware with what being a transgendered individual is, following is a short description: Transgender is the state of one's "gender identity" (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both) not matching one's "assigned sex" (identification by others as male, female or intersex based on physical/genetic sex). While I am by no means an expert on what being transgendered is, I do know what being demonized and hated on is. I, like many others will no doubt continue to learn. Should any of you have anything you want to add, or expound on, please feel free to leave me a comment. Together we can fight ignorance. Yes, even ignorance that we have about each other.


  1. We must respect our transgendered community. In my opinion, they have the BIGGEST BALLS in our agenda! If we cannot respect love, honor, and respect our Transgendered community, then where will we end up as a community? This post is definitely a reminder to honor those of us who have the courage to LIVE OUT LOUD!! I hope that more of us can do the same.

  2. Very well said! I appreciate all of the support you give, here and to the LGBT community. You're proof that the Black and Latino community are also in the fight!

  3. There is Scientifically Proven 3rd Sex; In my studies and Reference to a Documentary "Penis at 12" it shows Cultures who accept a third sex and that Chromosones dont necessaraly determine gender. An example of this would be Actress Jamie lee curtis who is a woman but has XY chromosones. That being Said we as americans, as human beings should open our minds to the There is a Scientifically Proven 3rd Sex; In my studies and References to the Documentary "Penis at 12" it shows Cultures such as India and the Dominican Republic which have long accepted a third sex. It has also been proven on a molecular level that Chromosomes don't necessarily determine gender; we are all female before testosterone is introduced to the brain in the Uterus. In many cases this does not always happen. An example of this would be Actress Jamie Lee Curtis who is a fully functioning woman but recently discovered that she has XY (Male) chromosomes (A Urban Legend That has been Proven True}. But rightly, she is not classified as a Hermaphrodite, which is a very different category. Many Males do not recieve enough Testoterone in uterus and form as males, however, are female in gender.
    We as Americans, as human beings, should open our minds to the recent scientific findings in the subject of Sexuality and Gender. It is also important that we know that sexual organs are in no way related to gender identity (Other than Imposed Culteral Norms). Our Sexual Rolls are more nurture than nature and Sexuality is Just the inverse.
    This Day of Remembrance Should remind us how far we have come as a community and encourage All LGBT and Straights to further educate ourselves in understanding the 3rd Sex. there are perhaps millions of XX males and XY females living in the United States today. Stop Ignorance based Violence!


  4. This is a great post about the longforgotten "T" in the GLBT movement...being lumped into a group of sexualities hasnt always fared well for Transgendered people, and I have known many who dont take to kindly to that...but never the less, they need us and ultimately we'll need them...whether people in general realize or not that Transgenedered people arent a "sexuality" since they can be Straight/Gay/Bisexual themselves or not...we cant/wont give up on them..its hard enough dealing with a small part of you, your sexuality, then having to deal with a major part of you your gender...I know we'll make great strides in the coming decade and beyond..and they'll be right there with us as we do :) for their sake and ours

  5. Thanks Jethro! You are correct in what you just wrote.It's good to see that many of us do our "homework" regarding why and how we develop as different human beings. To some in this society, all of the proof in the world that can be proven won't be enough. We learn to live by what we're taught by society, old prejudices and outdated "morals" more than by what is reality. Like the old saying goes " To he that believes, no proof is necessary, to he who does not, no proof is enough". We live in a world where people take "The God's truth" as made by man and nothing more. There is more. It's why we'll have our rights. All of us.

  6. Jeff, you're even deeper than most know. It's lovable the way so much more comes out of people than what 160 characters on twitter can do. You're way ahead of those that are older than you. You care. It's what makes me and others like yourself, jethro and Everett, work as hard as we do, each in our own way. The one thing that I look forward to is that we will have our equal rights.Might take some time, but we will.

  7. efectivamente esto me hace pensar en las veces que he notado incluso dentro de la comunidad se les hace burla a los transexuales, aunque no es tan extremo creo que esto ilustra muy bien que esto debe cesar aunque sea en un grado muy mínimo.
    Yo personalmente no me burlo, sólo uso el término "vestida" que me hizo reflexionar y espero que no lo consideren ellas mismas ofensivo.
    Y de trato muy directo, solamente he convivido con uno, que dejó de serlo pero me contó sus experiencias y le estoy muy agradecido porque él fué de los que más me enseñó al principio sobre el ambiente y me llevó por primera vez a un antro gay.
    donnow, I just felt like sharing that...

  8. Si te hiso pensar, entonces se que esto en el camino corecto. Gracias por poner de tu parte. Como sabes, en este mundo, es muy dificil aveces de enfrentar a los que nos odian. Pero siempre siguiremos palante! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  9. After 12 years I never thought I would be able to live as myself. I was forced to cover up my transgendered side. In 2008 I took it upon myself to gain that part of my life back. This time around I am single and when I go out I am by myself most of the time. I run into many different people everyday. The thing I have gotten used to is having my picture taken with people using cam phones. Also I know there could be dangers each time I live the house. I am very cautious about people I meet, especially men. I have big trust issues with men. My heart aches for the ones who have been killed and I pray that it will not happen to me, but I can't stop my life because of a few bad apples in the world.

  10. Thanks for sharing part of your story, as I know there is always a lot more. It's why I fight as much as I can for what I believe in. I'm glad you are at a point in your life where you can be comfortable with yourself. The LGBT life can be quite hard sometimes. It's even harder for the Transgender community. While many think "being a man" is the traditional "Jock with 5 kids" I believe it's having the strength to know and be who your are. I appreciate your comment and insight. Feel free to drop by whenever you wish.


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