TDoR 2016

The usual date for the Trans Day of Remembrance is November 20th. As that falls on a Sunday this year, lots of people are having their events earlier or later. I’ll be attending one in Bath this evening, and the Bristol event (which I am again hosting) will be tomorrow evening. Bristol will also have a flag raising with the Lord Mayor outside City Hall at 4:30pm tomorrow.

The usual reminders apply. TDoR was starting in by Gwendolyn Ann Smith in San Francisco 1999 following the (still unsolved) murder of Rita Hester in Boston in 1998. It is now a worldwide event. The vast majority of victims are trans women of color. This year there are 295 names on the list. That’s a record, and while we should remember that increases can occur due to better reporting the tenor of world politics suggests that things will get much worse in future. You can find the full data here.

You’ll note that one death has been recorded in the UK this time. It is Vikki Thompson, one of the trans women who took her own life last year while being held in a men’s prison. Suicides are not normally included, but presumably the folks at Transgender Europe felt that Vikki’s multiple unsuccessful attempts to get herself moved to a women’s prison amounted to culpability on the part of the prison service. I am very relieved that the Ministry of Justice has finally got around to issuing new guidelines.

Suicides of trans people are under-reported, in part because of an understandable desire not to cause further distress to families. Nevertheless they happen. There have been two in Wiltshire in the past month. In this article Fox Fisher highlights the terrible effects of the recent US election on trans youth. Back in April I met a lovely young trans woman in London. She was delighted to have a good job in IT and be able to go through transition here, because she came from a part of Europe that was much less welcoming to trans people. She took her own life the day after the Brexit vote.

It has apparently become fashionable in right wing circles to claim that all of these reports of death are lies; made-up left wing propaganda. I’m sure that you can guess what I think of people who say these things. Don’t expect me to be in any way polite to them.