Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance–traditionally observed by memorializing the trans and gender non-conforming people who have been murdered in the past year. Mourning is an act of solidarity and respect, but it’s important to remember what causes the horrific violence visited upon the trans community–the vulnerability of transgender and gender-non-conforming people.
Violence is not doled out equally among all members of the community. Trans women are astronomically more likely to be murdered than trans men. Women of color are more likely to be harmed than white women. Poor women and women with addiction and mental health issues are more likely to be targeted. Sex workers are overwhelmingly represented among the dead. This isn’t an accident. Poor non-white women are already the most poorly protected among us, and trans women are even more likely to be brutalized by authorities who are supposed to help them.
The value of mourning should not be understated, but there is only one day a year dedicated to transgender issues. I’d like to see it used both for mourning and demanding visibility–for making sure everyone remembers the issues facing the trans community for the rest of the year.