With Memory and Honor

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009

OK, kids, it’s time to get serious, because the violence against the TG community is very serious indeed.

This Friday, November 20th, marks the 11th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. This event is held to pay respect to those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence and reckless hate; it is also held to increase awareness within the community at large to this violence and the danger it holds, not only for gender-variant individuals but those who share their lives. In 2009 alone, 99 individuals worldwide have been murdered either because they were transgendered, were involved with someone transgendered, or – perhaps most unsettling of all – were perceived to be transgendered by their attacker(s). With the violence against the community escalating at an alarming rate (2009’s murders to date are more than twice that of 2008’s), informing the public and working to educate others is a key step in reducing these senseless acts and preserving the dignity, safety and lives of all citizens.I encourage you to participate in your local events; the light of awareness helps to dispel the shadows of ignorance and hate.
For more information, or to find an event near you, please visit http://www.transgenderdor.org or http://www.transohio.org.


So here’s the thing:

Long ago, back when the Land of the Free was still pretty young and had that “new country” smell, Thomas Jefferson exhorted those who would keep the whole crazy “America” train rolling to “educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

Poetically spoken words, and as true today as they were then – not only for our country, but for the myriad groups composing its citizenry. As a member of several groups – American, Hispanic, Liberal, Transgender, People Who Realize White Castle Is Kind Of Gross But Keep Eating There Because It’s Good, Damn It – I know how important education is to fostering understanding not only between groups but between members within those groups.

All of which brings me to my point: I’m currently compiling, via blog, Claire’s Transgendered Primer for the Curious, Apprehensive or Confused. In it, I hope to provide a (very) basic guide designed to answer questions that non-transgendered people have about us, as well as foster discussion and educate folks about who transgendered people are (hint: we’re people who happen to be transgendered, not amorphous clouds of gender variance who have temporarily taken human form. Well, except for me).

I’ve requested input from my transgendered sisters and brothers regarding the topics they’d like to see addressed, and now, I would ask you, non-trans readers, the following questions:

1) What questions do you most often have for or about transgendered people?

2) Do you have any first-hand experience with a transperson, or are you reliant solely on the media’s somewhat less-than-appealing portrayal of who we are?

3) What opinions do you currently have regarding the transgendered (if any)? Do you feel they might be subject to change if you were more thoroughly educated on the subject?

Judging by the reactions this idea has received so far, I’m both apprehensive and excited to see what develops. I would ask that, if you send me an e-mail or post your comments right here on Claire de Lunacy, that you be respectful of others’ opinions (which is not to say you can’t be a total smartass, just don’t descend into the lowlands of Flame Hate, The Hate that Flames) and contribute something genuine to the discussion (again, I must stress that ALL opinions are welcome, regardless of my alignment with them along the idealogical, religious or psychological spectra).

I’ll be compiling the posts, comments and messages I get this week and I’ll post the results in the Version 1.0 edition of The Primer this weekend, so whether you’re a transperson who’s dying to set the record straight (insert pause for irony), or a non-transperson burning with curiosity, let your voice be heard, my friends!

Education, collaboration, and illumination begin with YOU.

Well, okay, they begin with “E,” “C,” and “I,” respectively speaking, but that’s not very catchy, is it?