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TDoR

So, I didn’t do anything for Day of Remembrance on here, and I feel kind of bad about that. But I do have a couple things to say based on the events that I did attend and hear about regarding the day:

The first “event” is one I didn’t actually attend, my uni’s LGBTA held a meeting the monday before about trans people where they had one trans member talk about his experiences (wish I could have made it, but I have a once-per-week class at that time). When asking about it afterwards, the only thing anyone told me that was discussed was medical stuff. I don’t know if this was really the only thing talked about, but it’s the only thing that stuck apparently. It gets on my nerves when trans people come up and the main (or only) topic of discussion is surgery, as if that were the end-all and be-all of the trans identity and experience. I don’t think it’s this guy’s fault, he’s only just coming out to friends and family so a discussion of the coming out process would likely be very painful at the moment, and I don’t think he’s ever done a full-on discussion. I have heard him talk about other things (like bathrooms, etc) elsewhere, so I’m sure they came up. But I wonder what the pre-meeting discussion on what he should talk about was. Maybe I’m reading too far into this, but at the very least it seems that what comes immediately to the minds of the cis people I talked to about it was medical transition.

The next event was a small remembrance get-together hosted by wellness and led by a member of the community. One good thing, and one bad thing. The good is that it was brought up that no-one remembers trans suicides. I think it’s important to recognize that suicide is often just as much a product of society’s hatred as murder is. Perhaps even more so, given that it is prompted by multiple smaller events rather than a single act of hate. The problem with the event is that the main focal point, aside from the reading of the names/moment of silence, was a video filmed my a cis partner to a trans person. While in a lot of ways the video was good, it centered around the cis partner. The video was not filmed for this event, but for a project on identity this person did for a grad class. While a discussion of her identity and how it interacted with her partner’s was very good in terms of a discussion of identity, it was utterly inappropriate for a day remembering trans people. It bothers me that the spokesperson for this event was a cis person. It also makes me wonder if there are any such materials from the other direction, trans people discussing trans, in the immediate community (probably not, but honestly the organizer could have gone on the internet and found lots of acceptable and informative things to show other than this).

I also find it interesting that of the handful of people who attended, so few seemed to know about any of these deaths. I would have thought that at least the killing of a toddler would have made national news. But while everyone has been made painfully aware of a recent rash of gay male suicides, most are still completely ignorant of the dangers trans people face.

The final event was the LGBTA pride banquet. They were effectively guilted into making it about TDoR when so many people complained that nothing was done for trans people in the club (I’m being a little uncharitable, the administration of the club has been completely replaced from last year and the atmosphere is considerable more trans-friendly, but the fact that people complained was one of the reasons cited for why something should be done for TDoR at all). The speaker was great, a trans person from the community and a representative of the local trans support network. His speech covered a variety of topics, and was very uplifting for me who is used to the surgery-surgery-surgery narrative so often heard outside trans spaces. He also mentioned trans identities outside just FtM/MtF. I wonder how many of the people there were really just attending for the food and dancing, but I’m sure some of it got in to their heads.

Hopefully next year I will be able to participate in these events more fully than just attending them.

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