Last Saturday a celebration of trans lives took place at the Dublin Unitarian Church, St Stephen’s Green. It was all part of the International day of remembrance which will take place on today, November 20th worldwide.
Why have such a day some might ask. However, the reasons are clear, it is of the utmost importance that we, as a community, never forget those who have lost their lives for no other reason than they were trans. Members of the trans community suffer various types of discrimination on a daily basis as simply being themselves opens them up to all kinds of prejudice. The statistics in terms of acts of violoce against them are horrific, from January 2008 until December 2011 there were 816 reported deaths of trans persons (source) and from this map you can see it’s an international issue.
Here in Ireland we have some wonderful groups working towards trans equality, including the Trans* Education and Advocacy (TEA) group, they tell us
Although this day (Transgender Day of Remembrance) is a sad and poignant reminder of the hatred, violence and discrimination experienced by trans people across the world as we remember all those who have died simply for being themselves, it is also a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness about trans experiences, to come together and support each other in solidarity.
Out of the sadness, anger and grief, we can become stronger together in our ongoing fight for respect, recognition and the right to be ourselves without fear or shame.
Another wonderful Irish organisation is the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) on their site Sara Phillips, facilitator of the Dublin Trans Peer Support Group declares
We use the the Trans Day of Remembrance to celebrate trans lives and to remember those throughout the world who have lost their lives as a result of violence and abuse. In Ireland we have yet to identify any individual case of a trans person losing their life as a direct result of their gender identity. However it is clear from a recent study carried out by TENI that suicide is a much greater issue. The Transgender Remembrance Ceremony is a way to recognise the problems we face as a community in every day life and to also celebrate those lives
The international day of remembrance began in 1998 and today events are happening everywhere you can think of, so no matter where you are you can take part. For a list of events see here.