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Comment: Trans deaths must not be forgotten

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  1. This is extremely saddening and heart wrenching, they will be remembered. My heart goes out to any transgender people who has to go through such terrible hate and discrimination, the LGB community may still not have equality and such but I would not think we get discrimination to this degree. Transgender people need to be heard more, have there voices heard, have these ridiculous prejudices removed, have equality but equality seems just so far away but I will look forward to and fight for that day.

  2. I wish peace to all the trans people who have had their lives so wrongly taken from them, I only wish we could have provided it for them whilst they were here.

  3. I wish peace to all the trans people who have had their lives so wrongly taken from them, I only wish we could have provided it for them whilst they were still here. I am not trans but am constantly inspired by the trans community for their courage in the face of adversity. If society could allow themselves to be somewhat more open minded then I belive everyone could learn a lot from trans people about what it is to be true to yourself and what bravery really is.

  4. I’d love a video of the speeches if one exists.

  5. Lovely comments Blondie and Alex – thank you.

    Thank you too, Sarah, for a very sobering article.

    It was a very moving remembrance event in London and most of us are still trying to process all of the emotion of the day. Jack and Julian were so brave to speak about Andrea and Destiny at the event – I am tearful thinking about it right now.

    Your statistics are shocking and terrifying. We need to get some reliable research done on this so that policy-makers can no longer blame ‘a lack of evidence’ for their inaction.

  6. poeticlicense 26 Nov 2009, 12:21am

    Yes indeed, we hope that lessons will be learned, i’ve suffered even more harrassment of late, it’ll never end

  7. Black Hawk Down 26 Nov 2009, 1:07am

    Well said Sarah
    -x-

  8. It was such a shame the two main opposition parties failed to issue statements of support and solidarity for TDoR despite repeated requests over a three moth period. However I am glad that Gordon Brown became the first national leader to recognise the day and the significance in the numbers.

    Its been a chilling year for all of us in the trans community and it must serve as a call to action for all of us and our allies.

    The Equality Bill shortly will be making it’s 3rd reading in the House Of Commons on the 2nd of December before proceeding to the House of Lords. There are several issues that affect Gender Variant people that many of us have campaigned on, but only 2 that have had amendments tabled, these by the Liberal Democrats.

    They cover:

    The widening of the definition for protection in the bill to allow all Gender Variant people to be covered, and not just those currently covered under Gender Re-assignment. The amendment asked this to be changed from Gender Re-assignment to cover Gender Identity. This would give us more of a scope in protection. Some MPs see this as essential, but most do not understand that there is a difference and that Transgender is different from Transsexual…

    and

    To give protection under harassment for Gender Variant children at school, currently the government does not see this as necessary stating that direct discrimination is enough and that Gender Variant children would never be harassed.

    I urge everybody to write to their MP to support the amendment to the bill.

  9. A sample letter to send to your MP via: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

    “Dear ………..

    I am contacting you with regard to the equality bill currently before parliament.

    I welcome the Equality Bill and the many improvements it will bring to equality law. In particular I welcome the introduction of protection for people by perception, and by association with people who are covered by the Gender Reassignment strand. I do however have serious concerns in regard to other provisions within the bill. It is my belief that these undermine the equality of protection from discrimination and harassment for gender variant people. Most notably when compared to the protection afforded to other equality strands. It is for this reason I am writing to you to share my concerns and to ask you to support these amendments during the Bill’s passage through the Commons.

    My concerns cover the following areas:

    – The scope of who is and isn’t included under clause 7, Gender Reassignment. The vast majority of gender variant people, who do not intend to live full-time in the opposite sex, are excluded. This is extremely unjust. All gender variant people are vulnerable and in equal need of protection.

    – Schools must be prohibited from harassing gender variant children. The Bill as published exempts schools from this essential requirement (clause 80).

    In short, I would urge you to support amending the Equality Bill to improve it in these two vital areas:

    1. Please support the widening of the protected characteristic to cover the gender identities of all gender variant people rather than keeping the restrictive grounds of transsexual gender reassignment.
    2. Please support the harassment coverage to be included for gender variant children in school education.

    Throughout the rest of this letter I will expand my arguments and concerns on each point but first I will define what I mean by gender variant.

    Definition of Gender Variant

    A gender variant person is any person who does not identify fully with the gender assigned to them at birth, and/or does not conform or is not perceived as conforming to cultural or societal expectations, or stereotypical assumptions of behaviour patterns or appearance commonly associated with the gender assigned to them at birth, whether on a permanent basis, or on a temporary or intermittent basis. Such people are sometimes collectively referred to as being transgender although the term transgender is also used to describe someone who lives permanently in the opposite sex without surgically altering their bodies.

    Dual-role gender variant people are people who sometimes present in their birth sex and sometimes in the opposite sex (such people are often referred to as transvestites or cross-dressers). Whilst there are some amongst the dual-role gender variant population who strongly self-identify with the opposite sex, most dual-role gender variant people identify to a greater or lesser degree with both sexes. There are probably at least one million dual-role gender variant people in the UK, possibly as many as 3 million. Many of these will have families.

    Many dual-role gender variant people suppress their needs in order to try to comply with the various pressures from society and family, but it should be recognised that this suppression is due to fear of harassment, discrimination or rejection rather than an arbitrary choice and comes with an associated emotional cost to the gender variant person. Dual-role gender variant people are also rightly worried that their families will become the targets of discrimination and harassment.

    Protected Characteristic

    I am deeply concerned that the protected characteristic “Gender Reassignment” is too narrow and fails to protect many people who are gender variant and who face discrimination and harassment. It is also an inappropriate name for the protected characteristic. It is a term which already has a meaning in law in terms of protecting transsexual people who undergo a medical process and I believe that using the same term for the proposed non-medically reliant protected characteristic will cause un-necessary confusion. In my view this protected characteristic should be replaced by “Gender Identity” or a similar fully inclusive term.

    Throughout the various stages of the consultation process leading up to the Bill’s publication the Government has been erroneously claiming that for most gender variant people being so is simply a matter of a lifestyle choice. This falsehood is deeply offensive. Being gender variant to any degree is not a matter of choice. It is part of one’s core being. Whether the Government’s refusal to protect all gender variant people is a result of prejudice or of reluctance due to misunderstanding their needs I cannot judge. Either way it is considerable well below what we, as citizens of the UK, would expect from Government. It is unfounded, unjust and hurtful to the wider gender variant population. By excluding the wider gender variant population the Government is re-enforcing the stigmatisation and social exclusion of a vulnerable minority group. The most basic equality that other sections of society often take for granted, such as employment protection and access to services, must no longer be withheld from those gender variant people who do not intend to live full-time in the opposite gender.

    It is worth noting that this year the Scottish Parliament passed anti-harassment legislation which contains a very broad definition of the gender variant people which fall under its protection and that the legislation was passed unopposed. So we have the situation where politicians from the different parties have seen the need to protect the wider gender variant population in Scotland yet in England and Wales no such protection is on offer. This is clearly unjust.

    Bear in mind also that most gender variant people have families, and by excluding those that are not transsexual from protection the Government is also denying protection by association to their partners and children. It is manifestly wrong that a partner and children of those Gender Variant people that are not transsexual should be denied the same protection.

    The Government claim that there is little or no evidence of discrimination against the wider gender variant population. To a great extent this is because most gender variant people are deeply closeted for fear of being abused. There is no doubt, however, that those who continue to discriminate against transsexual people would readily discriminate against any gender variant person if the opportunity arose. The Government’s insistence on proof of discrimination puts gender variant people in a no win situation of either staying deeply closeted or outing themselves publicly and making themselves and their families a target for discrimination. Does Parliament really demand that gender variant people put their children at risk in order to prove something which is obvious to most people?

    May I please also direct you to the recent Commons/Lords Joint Committee on Human Rights Legislative scrutiny report which also supports the need for the widening of the definition.

    The report is available on-line here:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200809/jtselect/jtrights/169/169.pdf

    An excerpt towards the bottom of page 25 continuing on page 26 in particular explains this well:

    However, we are concerned that the new definition may be interpreted in an unduly restrictive manner, as a transsexual person will only be protected from discrimination if he or she can demonstrate an intention to undergo a process of gender reassignment. This may leave individuals who cannot yet undergo a process of reassignment, such as children under the age of 16, or those for whom such a process would be of little or no relevance, such as inter-sex persons or those living in a state of gender variance, without protection.

    Further detailed information can be found from pages 25 to 28 of the document.

    Schools

    Most people simply cannot imagine how frightening and isolating it is to be a gender variant child in our society. I therefore give a qualified welcome to the Equality Bill extending protection from discrimination because of Gender Reassignment to cover school education. However, I am alarmed that protection from harassment related to Gender Reassignment has been specifically excluded from the provisions on school education (clause 80). This exclusion means that there will be less protection on grounds of gender reassignment, than for race, gender, disability and age, and implies that harassment on grounds of gender reassignment in these settings is acceptable. I am also alarmed about the absence of protection for the large number of gender variant children who fall outside of the Bill’s definition of Gender Reassignment (the majority of gender variant children) but who are equally needy of protection under the law. Surely transphobic bullying and harassment of vulnerable young people can never be acceptable?

    Transphobic harassment in school education can and does lead to truancy and academic failure, low self-esteem and mental health problems, and even self-mutilation and suicide. Mental health issues arising from non-acceptance are likely to be long term, extending far into later life. This has been confirmed in a recent study, available for inspection on-line: http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/66/5/527. It is essential that this exception be removed.

    The recent Commons/Lords Joint Committee on Human Rights Legislative scrutiny report also supports the need for protection from harassment under Gender Identity be included.

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200809/jtselect/jtrights/169/169.pdf

    The detailed information can be found at pages 44 and 45 of the document.

    May I ask that you could look at the above background information, and for you to support the amendment of the Equality Bill to improve it in these two vital areas:

    1. Please support the widening of the protected characteristic to cover the gender identities of all gender variant people rather than keeping the restrictive grounds of transsexual gender reassignment.
    2. Please support the harassment coverage to be included for gender variant children in school education.

    Yours

  10. comment removed

  11. So is that your justification for murder Rahman? If so I could kill you because you offend my sensibilities of what I consider a human is.

  12. comment removed

  13. Sarah Brown 26 Nov 2009, 8:17pm

    We are not “false females”. We do not “fool” people. Trans women are women, and I’m afraid you’re being rather transphobic here.

    It’s never acceptable to kill someone because you’re insecure in your sexuality.

  14. I know that’s probably a fake name, but I’d love it if that was ACTUALLY Sarah brown. I think we need to get her her very own tripcode should she ever wish to post. I love sarah brown!

  15. Sarah Brown 26 Nov 2009, 9:31pm

    It’s not a fake name – it’s what it says on my passport and everything.

  16. Sami Miehenaihio 26 Nov 2009, 11:17pm

    Professor Susurro pointed out in her blog “Like a Whisper” that the number of victims in the USA would actually be much bigger, if some of the victims weren’t re-closeted by their families in death.

    http://likeawhisper.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/transgender-day-of-remembrance-2009/

  17. “We are not “false females”. We do not “fool” people. Trans women are women, and I’m afraid you’re being rather transphobic here.” Thank you Sarah! It’s that kind of thinking (or rather bigoted attitude) that gets us killed.

    Rahman, I hope you die for who YOU are someday – and as you breathe your last breath, remember this subject. Get some MF’ing empathy.

    Peace to all the girls who died being what they had to be. NOT fake, NOT false, but as real as it gets. Few non-trans people can even contemplate the depth of the fight to be the person that you really are.

    I say, if attacked, take the war to the bigot (if you can) with CQB (close quarters battle). If someone tries to take me out, they will get a serious shock. Girls, for the sake of your life, take martial arts classes or self defence classes.

  18. “We are not “false females”. We do not “fool” people. Trans women are women, and I’m afraid you’re being rather transphobic here.” Thank you Sarah! It’s that kind of thinking (or rather bigoted attitude) that gets us killed.

    “Rahman, I hope you die for who YOU are someday – and as you breathe your last breath, remember this subject. Get some MF’ing empathy.”

    I was looking at some videos of transdeaths on Youtube. Not only were the deaths violent…they were HORRIFIC. Did you notice that most victims were “exposed” meaning that their bodies were left in the street, sometimes naked? They are not just stabbed, they are butchered multiple times. They are not just shot, they are shot MULTIPLE TIMES. Yes, it is tragic that they died in this manner, but this was the choice they made.They realized that they could not find decent work once they made this transition, so they take to the streets. I agree with Rahman. They are NOT real women, no matter now much you want to convince yourselves that you are. YOU WILL NEVER know what it means to be a REAL WOMAN. And some men do flip when they realize they have been fooled. Don’t expect everybody on here to do this “hugs hon” and whatnot. The truth is the truth. Why do they need to take marital arts classes? A “transwoman’s” hands do not change size. You all still have the strength of men, defend yourselves. Use what God DID give you, since you deny everything else he gave you. Thank you Rahman for speaking your mind on these matters.

  19. “Yes, it is tragic that they died in this manner, but this was the choice they made.”

    NO sorry Daisy it was not a choice they made it was a choice people like you made. You chose to believe in the fairytales in the bible and to murder or hate somebody because of their sexuality or gender identity. Like it or not people are born gay and trans its part of the natural diversity of humanity.

    Your not born a bigot though Daisy, that come from failing to to have a basic humanity or an ability to except people who are not like you. You surrendered your humanity to your bible and your preacher.

    Its easy to hate it takes a lot more to love and except.

    I pity you Daisy.

  20. snakeyjack 27 Nov 2009, 1:10pm

    Daisy, with that comment you’ve shown yourself to be scum, pure and simple. You’re aware of the horror of these women’s deaths, and you still come to an article mourning them to spew your bigotry. (Inaccurate bigotry at that – trans women on HRT do *not* “have the strength of men”.) To suggest that any woman deserved to die because she didn’t fight back well enough is utterly repugnant.

  21. “Yes, it is tragic that they died in this manner, but this was the choice they made”

    Who cares if their transition or gender presentation was a choice or not. They still didn’t choose to be a victim of violence, that is the fault of the attacker NOT the victim!

    “You all still have the strength of men, defend yourselves”

    Not true if a person is on HRT. But that’s irrelevant, our attackers have sticks and knives and guns, should we go out armed to protect ourselves? Would you think it ok if YOU had to go out constantly wary of violent attack?!

    To be blunt, I am scared of people like you who think that murder is ok if somebody just sees something that they don’t understand or weren’t expecting. I’m sure if trans people were murdering people like you out of fear and misunderstanding you wouldn’t blame yourself for being the kind of person you are. No, you’d blame the aggressor and surely be a total bigoted hypocrite.

  22. Daisy – it’s true that the skeletal structure doesn’t change. But hormones change the cartilage, and so it’s not uncommon for trans women to lose a cm or two of height, and a shoe size.

    Moreover, the “still have a man’s strength” bit is a medical myth, though an article of faith amongst transphobes evrywhere.

    Testosterone is a performance-enhancer for athletes. Lacking it, the body reverts to a female norm. Even the IOC recognises that 2 years of hormone treatment means that trans women and the standard factory models have no difference in performance. The greater bone density of trans women, together with female-standard muscles, means they may have a disadvantage rather than an advantage.

    As for them not being “real women” – neurologically they are, and have been since long before birth. You can see this on MRI scans and in autopsies.

    See for example:

    1.DF Swaab, WC Chung, FP Kruijver, MA Hofman, TA Ishunina
    Structural and functional sex differences in the human hypothalamus
    Horm Behav. Sep, 2001; 40(2): 93-8.

    2. DF Swaab
    Sexual differentiation of the human brain: relevance for gender identity, transsexualism and sexual orientation
    Gynecol Endocrinol. Dec, 2004; 19(6): 301-12.

    3.IE Sommer, PT Cohen-Kettenis, T van Raalten, AJ Vd Veer, LE Ramsey, LJ Gooren, RS Kahn, NF Ramsey
    Effects of cross-sex hormones on cerebral activation during language and mental rotation: An fMRI study in transsexuals
    Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. Mar 2008; 18(3): 215-21.

    4.H Berglund, P Lindstrom, C Dhejne-Helmy, I Savic
    Male to female transsexuals show sex-atypical hypothalamus activation when smelling odorous steroids
    Cereb Cortex. Aug 2008; 18(8): 1900-8.

    As Prof Ecker wrote to me : “We showed how Transgender Brains think, smell, and hear like the opposite sex.”

    To deny trans women their femininity based on external superficialities of appearance is to deny the femininity of other women who are intersexed, have had mastectomies or hysterectomies, or have masculinising doseases such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

  23. “YOU WILL NEVER know what it means to be a REAL WOMAN.”

    I challenge you to define this. Go on…

    “Yes, it is tragic that they died in this manner, but this was the choice they made.”

    Good God, you’re a disgusting, unholy husk of a human being. What little compassion I can muster for you prays that you never know how vile that statement is in *any* context. Trans/Cis, Straight/Gay, Religious/Secular; No matter who you’re talking about, saying they chose to die horribly? That’s just inhuman and sick.

    “You all still have the strength of men, defend yourselves.”

    That’s a flat myth of ignorance. Within a year, two at most, a trans woman’s musculature is indistinguishable from a cis woman’s.

    “Use what God DID give you, since you deny everything else he gave you.”

    I’ve denied nothing of God’s gifts. In fact, I’ve embraced the trials he’s deemed me capable of facing, and grown stronger as a result. Consider how you’ve faced yours.

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