Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day when people around the world gather to remember those who have been murdered because of transphobia. This is an opportunity for all people concerned with liberty and justice to come together around an extremely serious problem. Violence against transgender, or trans, people, particularly transgender women, is pervasive. According to a 2011 study by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 50% of LGBT individuals murdered in 2009 were trans women and 44% of LGBT individuals murdered in 2010 were trans women.
When people fear for their lives and safety because of who they are, this is a tremendous assault on liberty. It limits freedom of movement, with some being afraid to go to school, use public restrooms, or walk at night. It limits freedom of expression by encouraging some people to remain in the closet and suppress their gender expression. And this climate of fear is enforced through brutal acts of violence that clearly violate basic individual rights.
I would strongly recommend that all anarchists, libertarians, feminists, transgender rights advocates, and decent people read this article on anti-trans violence and hate crimes laws. It illuminates the problem in a powerful way, and explains how the state’s top down solutions have failed to address it. Furthermore, it discusses grassroots approaches to liberating the trans community from violence. Fundamentally, I consider that type of activism to be at the heart of what anarchist political action is about.
More immediately, I would strongly urge you to find out if there is a Transgender Day of Remembrance event happening in your area. Why? As C4SS senior fellow Charles Johnson has written:
Because it’s important, and because it’s the decent thing to do, it’s one of the things you have to do in this life. But I hate remembering our dead. I am sick of there being more people every year that we have nothing left of but a memory. It’s not enough. It’s never enough.
But they deserve at least that.