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Transgender Day Of Remembrance

November 20, 2013 Transgender Day Of Remembrance

Pride Toronto / WorldPride 2014 Toronto stands in solidarity with those in our transgender communities and honours those who have been taken from us too soon.  We reflect on the impact they have had on our lives and our communities while they were with us. We respect and honour them, and continue the struggle to end the transphobia they faced.

The 519 Church Street Community Centre will be holding its annual Trans Day of Remembrance event [see https://www.facebook.com/events/313789188764288], which marks and commemorates those trans* members of our communities who are no longer with us. This event serves as a memorial, a protest, an opportunity for reflection and a chance to see old friends and meet new ones.

What is Transgender Day of Remembrance?

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th in 1998 prompted the beginning of a web project entitled “Remembering Our Dead” followed by a candlelight vigil that was held in San Francisco in 1999.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, and it is a day when we publicly mourn and honor the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten.

Since its inception Transgender Day of Remembrance has been held annually on November 20, with over 185 cities across 20 countries honouring members of the community that have been a victim of transphobia. It also represents the final day of Transgender Awareness Week, a series of events to provide educational opportunities to raise awareness about the transgender community as well as the issues that they face. 

For further information about Transgender Day of Remembrance as well as a listing of global events, please visit http://www.transgenderdor.org.

What does Transgender mean?

Transgender – or trans – is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity or expression is different from those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth. Conversely, cisgender – or cis – is the term used to describe people whose gender identity or expression aligns with those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth.  [For more information, see: http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/transgender-faq]

What are the issues faced by the community?

Suicide

A recent (2012) Ontario study found that transgender people in the province show significantly higher suicide and attempted suicide rates. It found that a staggering 43% of trans* people had attempted suicide at some point in their life, and 10% had in the past year. [http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/social-shame-heightens-transgender-suicide-1.1179394]

Employment
Discrimination 

While 50% of the Fortune 500 companies offer non-discrimination policies that cover gender identity, a 2009 US study found 26% of transgender workers report losing their job because of their gender identity and 97% report other negative experiences in the workplace (from verbal harassment to assault). [National Gay and Lesbian Task Force/National Center for Transgender Equality, 2009)]

Health
Issues

The 2013 Healthcare Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign, found that 70% of transgender and gender-non-confirming respondents reported having had one or more of these experiences: being refused needed care, healthcare providers refusing to touch them or using excessive precautions, healthcare providers using harsh or abusive language, being blamed for their health status or healthcare providers being physically rough or abusive. [http://www.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/HEI_2013_final.pdf]

Violence

According to a poll by TransPulse, an Ontario based research project, 96% of respondents from a 2009-2010 study of trans Ontarians have reported experiencing transphobia. Further, over one quarter of respondents reported having been hit or beaten up because they were trans. [http://transpulseproject.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Transphobia-E-Bulletin-6-vFinal-English.pdf]

In our community:

The greatest opportunity to reduce threats faced by the transgender community is education. Pride Toronto encourages the creation of events and educational sessions to raise awareness, share stories and provide representation for the community on an ongoing basis.

In 2013, Pride Toronto hosted Macela Romero as its International Grand Marshall. Hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcela has worked with human rights defenders in Latin America, developing strategies to tackle stigma, hate crimes, discrimination and human rights abuses against trans* people. She attended the Organization of American States (OAS) as an advocate for gender identity laws in Latin American and Caribbean countries. During her visit at various events, Marcela shared the story about the struggle for LGBTTIQQ2SA human rights for trans* people in Latin America. She took the stage to launch the WorldPride 2014 Programming at Yonge-Dundas Square and issued a call for trans* rights with a supportive cheers from the large crowd. In addition, she has consistently made trans* rights as a central focus, in particular calling in its public statements on the Senate to pass Bill C-279, which would add gender identity as a prohibited grounds for discrimination into the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Also, in 2013, Pride Toronto honoured “The Fallen”, referring to those in the trans* communities who have been taken from us too soon. 

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