Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honours the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. As someone who identifies as a transgender man, I take this annual opportunity to remember my fellow transgender folk who have lost their lives to the historic and ongoing hatred, violence, and discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people. Although hate crimes are common, they are generally underreported to the police. Crime report rates are particularly low among trans people due to victimization by and discomfort with police, as well as a lack of faith in the police’s ability to effectively respond to hate crimes.
Systemic racism and transphobia exacerbate violent hate crimes that directly impact the lives of many trans individuals. Transphobia can take many different forms, including:
● Negative attitudes and beliefs
● Aversion to and prejudice against transgender people
● Irrational fear and misunderstanding
● Disbelief or discounting pronouns or gender identity
● Derogatory language and name-calling
● Bullying, abuse, and even violence
In 2021, the Human Rights Campaign tracked a record number of violent fatal incidents against transgender and gender non-conforming people — with 50 fatalities tracked. Sadly, 2022 has already seen at least 32 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means, most of whom were Black and Latinx transgender women.
Tori Cooper, the director of community engagement for the transgender justice initiative at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, stated that “We need to make sure that folks who commit hate crimes are prosecuted accordingly,” she continues “That means that they are understanding that they cannot inflict pain upon communities of people simply because they are different.”
In Ontario, two-thirds of trans people have avoided public spaces or situations because they feared harassment. Cisgenderism, heterosexism, racism, ageism, ableism, classism, and other forms of oppression that are rooted in our society’s fear of difference. While we mourn for all the trans people who have lost their lives we must remember that not all discrimination leads to fatal violence, but all forms of oppression and discrimination are inherently violent thus the fight for justice for trans people continues.
Carlisle, M. December 30, 2021, Anti-Trans Violence and Rhetoric Reached Record Highs Across America in 2021. Times Magazine Anti-Trans Violence and Rhetoric Reached Record Highs Across America in 2021
Gyamerah, A.O., Baguso, G., Santiago-Rodriguez, E. et al. Experiences and factors associated with transphobic hate crimes among transgender women in the San Francisco Bay Area: comparisons across race. BMC Public Health 21, 1053 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-11107-x