Sunday, 20 November 2016


So, today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, TDoR.  Each year, on the 20th November.

This year again I attended a memorial service. 

This year again I listened as a long of names was read out. 

This year again I lit a candle for those who have been killed JUST because they are trans. 

This year has been slightly surreal though. I feel almost dirty because I have been doing comms, press, whatever. I have been advertising the TDoR and advertising it like crazy. I filmed some of the memorial service (only of those I had spoken to first) because I may be able to add it to the local news tomorrow.  I have been promoting the day, promoting myself and speaking to local journalists. 

This is not something I am used to but I have been selling like crazy. The last few days I have been asking friends to share my posts. And today I have spent the day on Facebook and Twitter spreading my video, filmed with Oxford City Council, as far and wide as I can. I really, really appreciate all those who did by the way!

It feels a little dirty on a day like today. 

But you know what, it needs to be done. 

The trans community has some great voices but we do not have a million voices. There are so many who suffer. On a day like today we have the chance to grab a piece of peoples time. A concerted effort to make people listen. A momentum we don't get often. Our grief can be used to make a positive change. 

To spread the message. 

That trans lives matter. 

I have to be a little bloody minded to get it out there - but I think that it is the right battle to fight. I also hope that I am a good voice to lend to the battle. I am privileged, I have a good life, work at a great place, amazing friends and family and a happy life. Others do not. So I want to speak up for them. For those who cannot.   

Each year, the transgender community comes together to grieve for our lost siblings, but we also remember those who are abused, physically, mentally and sexually in the community as well as the many who chose to end their lives because of these factors. Ostracization from society in many parts of the world lead to much higher levels of physical and sexual abuse, and suicide than in any other community. Not to mention laws in many countries and complacency by many governments and police forces.

All we want to do is get on with our lives whilst being ourselves: dressing how we want to dress. We just ask for the respect to be referred to by the pronouns that we relate to rather than those that cause us pain. Generally though, we just want to be left alone like anyone else. 

Each year the list read out at the TDoR, a list of those killed that year simply for being trans, gets longer. Each year, hate crime reports against trans people increase. Some of this is better reporting and accurate recording of crimes, but some is a genuine increase.

This year there has been a spike in all hate crimes. In the UK, certain 'media' outlets have led campaigns of hate against trans youths, trans activists as well as organisations and schools that support trans children.  A few hate filled public figures have gained momentum and votes have been won around the world that would seem to put LGBTQ rights back a step. Some people have voted this way out of fear and misunderstanding, some out of true and bigotry. (Here I will say, not all who voted for outcomes we do not like are hate filled people. Some just genuinely want their lives to improve and vote to that end - misguided or otherwise. Do not paint all who voted 'right' with the same brush - as we on the left do not wish to be. Not all trans people share my views or speak for me.) 

It looks like we are going backwards. 

Yet, at the same time I have received so much support. I have put on events all over the shop in Oxford. I have met so many amazing allies who want to help spread the love. Spread the knowledge.
I do not think that is just my circle. 

Sure, I live in a bubble. In an city where the city council want to fly the trans flag over the town hall for the TDoR. There is a whole bunch of work being put into making an informative, helpful LGBT website by the city and county councils - and importantly they have asked the LGBT community to help rather than doing it 'for us'. The county council is going into schools and giving Stonewall awards out to amazing schools. Both universities, many groups within them and all the museums  want to back us up. Show us their support. Yes, I live in a great city. 

But I think that the love, respect, understanding and support is spreading from the 'non-LGBTQ' community. In fact, I just had a video passed on to me by a friend that was written in support of the trans and queer community. 

So yes. We are making progress. The next few years are uncertain. We need to ride out what will be a bumpy ride. So batten down the hatches, because it may be a little rough. But we will grow back, stronger. With more understanding and knowledge from the public at large. More support than ever.

Grieve today. 

Tomorrow comes the trans resistance. 

The future is very, very bright - don't let anyone make you think otherwise. 

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