Trans Day of Remembrance 2021
Trans Day of Remembrance is on Saturday 20 November every year. Each year this day is a solemn reminder to honour those who have lost their lives in acts of anti-trans violence.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that trans people are significantly more likely to be a victim of crime (one in four trans people (28%) experienced crime in the year ending March 2020) compared with 14% of people whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were registered at birth.
This year, we marked Trans Day of Remembrance with a flag raising event and speeches from staff and students on Whiteknights Campus.
This year we had speeches from the Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Dr Allán Laville; RUSU President, Ben Knowles; RUSU Trans Officer, Charlie Dennis; LGBT+ Staff Network, Representative, Quincy Bastow; Guest speaker, Rose Taylor and closing remarks from Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor UEB LGBT+ Champion, Professor Parveen Yaqoob.
Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Dr Allán Laville
Hello everyone, I’m Al Laville, the Dean for Diversity and Inclusion.
Trans Day of Remembrance is held every year on 20th November to honour the memory of those who have died as a direct result of transphobic hatred or prejudice.
Trans Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 to honour Rita Hester, an African American trans woman, whose murder sparked the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil. Rita Hester’s murder — like most transphobic murder cases — has yet to be solved.
Over the past 12 months, for trans and gender-diverse people, there has been 375 registered murders between October 2020 and September 2021. This represents a 7% increase from the 2020 update.
Remembering those who’ve been killed or driven to suicide cannot bring them back. However, by remembering those who had their lives cut short this year, we are reminded that it starts with hate.
I would like to read out a Nelson Mandela quote, which encapsulates my main thoughts today:
People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
So, what can we do? We can be allies for each other. We can listen to and uplift trans people’s voices. We can allow no space for bigotry and hatred. We can create a society in which every person can live a dignified life.
Thank you for listening, I will now handover to Ben Knowles, RUSU President.
RUSU President, Ben Knowles
On behalf of everyone at Reading University Students’ Union, I am proud to join friends and colleagues in commemorating this incredibly poignant and important date in our calendars. Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time for us to come together in recognition of the challenges still faced by the transgender community, whilst remembering the individuals who have lost their lives throughout the last year as a result of their gender identity.
At RUSU, we are committed to continuing our stance as a passionate ally of the transgender community, both in our work on campus and beyond. We will always strive to ensure the voice of all transgender students is represented at Reading, whether that’s through our Trans Part-time Officer, through myself and my Full-time Officer colleagues, or through our fantastically supportive LGBT+ student society. As a full member of the National Union of Students, we will continue to support nation-wide campaigns that work towards a more gender-inclusive society, by providing a dedicated platform for transgender students to participate in NUS’ democratic processes at their annual Liberation Conference.
As an ally myself, I understand the importance in recognising my own privilege, and taking the time to educate myself on the everyday challenges that the transgender community faces. We all have a role to play in eradicating transphobia and making our society a more inclusive place – whether that’s by challenging anti-transgender behaviour, or by setting a tone of inclusivity through the language we use in our daily lives.
I’d just like to finish by thanking everyone who has joined us today to honour Transgender Day of Remembrance. Together with my colleagues at RUSU, we want to make sure everyone feels supported by their students’ union – regardless of their gender identity. Thank you.
RUSU Trans Officer, Charlie Dennis
I was around 16 when I first went to an event for Trans Day of Remembrance, and every year since then I have attended one. I am about to turn 22, and yet already I feel as though I have mourned enough for a lifetime. If I must attend a Trans Day of Remembrance event every year for the rest of my life, I will, but I truly hope I do not have to.
Every year we see these figures, the names, the ages, and it doesn’t really get easier to digest. Sometimes people get caught up in numbers and figures, there’s this percentage of trans people in the world, there’s this many stuck in waitlists, there’s this many of us who died this year- and we forget that all of those one’s are people. Every name on that list was someone. Someone who should still be here. There really is no way to sugarcoat the fact that transphobia kills and will continue to if changes aren’t made. But the thing is, I want trans people to do more than just survive, I want them to be able to flourish, to be happy.
I know and love a lot of trans people, and they all have dreams- whether that be to own a house with a beautiful garden, or to help others, or to open a club, or to start a family. They all hope for something else as well though, they all want peace. Often people will say that we should feel lucky to be in this country, that it could be worse. And it is true in a way, there are other countries where being trans is much more high risk. It is also important to not ignore that the most vulnerable within the community are black trans women and sex workers, who make up a large proportion of the names read out each year.
However, it is possible to both recognise these facts and recognise that privilege whilst also being aware that the situation for all trans people in this country is worsening. Transphobia is found within both our main political parties, access to trans healthcare is becoming more difficult, and gender critical ideologies are appearing in almost every field. If there is anything that you take from me today, I would like it to be that if you don’t already, now is the best time for you to commit to standing in solidarity with the trans community.
Educate yourself on not just the issues we face, but on how diverse and wonderful the community is, and do what you can to show kinship consistently.
LGBT+ Staff Network, Representative, Quincy Bastow
Hi, my name is Quincy my pronouns are they/them and I am speaking on behalf of the LGBT+ staff network. Tomorrow, 20th November, is Trans Day of Remembrance, a day that honours the memory of the trans people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-trans violence, but also a day in which we remember those who took their own life due to continual abuse and harassment.
More than one in 27 percent of young trans people have attempted to take their own life and 89 percent have thought about it. I am one of those many trans people that are a part of that statistic. As trans siblings, we face continual backlash from society on social, continual misgendering, disconcerting looks, inappropriate touching, or physical abuse. Shockingly, half of trans people have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination. I have been a victim of many of these phenomena.
Such behaviours towards trans people negatively affects their mental health, sometimes leading them to take their own lives due to harassment and abuse. Such instances may not all appear in the statistics, but trans are people aren’t a statistic to be summed to be placed in an equation we are all individuals we are people, and we should all be treated as such. These people are from around the world but also in the UK, which is currently one of the worse places for trans people to live: even though we have an inclusive community here at the University of Reading, many forms of abuse still happen and get unreported.
As a staff network, we are here to support you, so look for the rainbow postcards and if you see or are a victim of abuse and harassment report to RUSU or to inclusive staff member hashtag it’s never okay.
Trans people are people and trans rights are human rights; today and tomorrow we must remember not just those individuals that have died to violence but those who have died due to abuse and harassment.
I want to remember those who are forgotten, those who aren’t remembered because they should be and will be remembered
Guest speaker, Rose Taylor
Transgender Day of Remembrance (TSOR) was started in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honour the memory of Rita Hester – a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester’s death, and began an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people – sometimes in the most brutal ways possible – it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice” – Transgender Day of Remembrance Founder, Gwendolyn Ann Smith
Today we continue this vigil and remember those who have been lost to violence in that last year. I am struck by the words of Gwendolyn Ann Smith when she talks about the right to simply exist. This fight is still true and with the things we see in the media here we are reminded of it every day. My hope is that we will one day not need to read these lists of names.
In her closing remarks, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor UEB LGBT+ Champion Parveen Yaqoob thanked those who spoke and those who took time out of their day to share a few moments of reflection and reminding colleagues that we all have a part to play in standing up against bigotry and hatred.
List Of Names Of Those Who Have Died In The Last Year
Kiér Laprí Kartier, USA
Nuray Nuriyev, Azerbaijan
Bryan Gallan, Philippines
Ivanna Angeline Macedo, France
Iratxe Otero, Spain
Vika Basakovskaya, Russia
Dimitra Kalogiannis, Greece
J A. da Silva, Brazil
Kadir Murat Sözübir, Turkey
Jeffrey Bright, USA
Tiara Banks, USA
Jaqueline Saviery Silva, Brazil
Claudia Madonna Ramírez, Colombia
Santiago Cancinos, Argentina
Ambre Audrey Istier, France
Mia Zabala, Honduras
Soledad Rojas Paúcar, Peru
Cristina Hernández Castillo, Mexico
Thaw Thaw, Myanmar
Lupita da Silva, Brazil
Angelita Seixas Alves Correia, Brazil
Vivianne López, Chile
Alessandra Ferrati, Bolivia
Diamond Kyree Sanders, USA
Krys Brandon Ruiz, USA
Paula Migeon, France
Cecy Caricia Ixpatá, Guatemala
Elizabeth Rondón, Venezuela
Oliver Taylor, USA
Kelly Alves, Brazil
Chyna Carrillo, USA
Nelly Garcia, Mexico
Fabiola Pamela Ramírez, Argentina
Marcinha Vaz, Brazil
Yeray Hurtado, Colombia
Lala Contreras, Nicaragua
Tiffany Thomas, USA
Trans Day of Remembrance Staff Portal piece: https://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/staffportal/news/articles/spsn-861476.aspx