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Transgender Day of Remembrance
November 29, 2002 2:55 PM   Subscribe

Remembering Our Dead: An online memorial to honor "those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice." The list includes Marsha Johnson - a key participant in the 1969 Stonewall Riots - as well as the recently murdered Gwen Araujo (whose funeral was thoughtfully blogged by Philo at East West). November 20th was the 4th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
posted by mediareport (36 comments total)

 
I consider prejudice and violence against any minority disgusting and deplorable, so please don't take what I'm about to say as some kind of combative statement.

A lot of the deaths in the first link seem to have very few details about the actual crimes. Just because a transgender person was murdered dosen't mean they were murdered because they were TG. A TG/TS person can be killed in a robbery gone wrong or a bar fight or lover's quarrel as easily as anyone else, but it dosen't make it a hate crime. Besides murder for any reason is a tragedy, isn't it?

This may be picking nits I suppose, but should we gloss over facts just to make a point?
posted by jonmc at 3:38 PM on November 29, 2002


TG/TS people are murdered for all sorts of reasons, but most often it has to do with the fact that someone was enraged by them--because they were seen as "pretending" to be the other sex (whether they were hustling as women, or dating someone who didn't know) or because they were seen as freaks...

I knew Marsha from the bars downtown (tons of people did-she was a sweetheart!) ...
posted by amberglow at 4:04 PM on November 29, 2002


Just because a transgender person was murdered dosen't mean they were murdered because they were TG.

Good point, jonmc; it's hard to know for sure what happened to Carla Leigh Salazar, for instance, or whether a lack of options for living as a trans person helped contribute to the death of prostitute Jill Seidel. I think site creator Gwen Smith, a fairly well-known trans activist, was mainly trying to make sure the names of the people weren't forgotten rather than going for a more focused political statement.

There are cases that are somewhat clearer, though, including Chanelle Pickett's: Guy steps into a trans bar "to get a beer," guy picks up trans sex partner, guy kills trans sex partner and then pleads a "trans panic" defense. As amberglow points out, it's a fairly common story.
posted by mediareport at 4:22 PM on November 29, 2002


What's heart-rending for me is all the "unknowns" on the memorial site.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:45 PM on November 29, 2002


I had the good fortune of being able to attend the trans day of remembrance organized by my university. there was a candlelight vigil and some speeches - altogether it was very, very well done.

i learned a lot, too. apparently trans people have the highest murder rate of any "visible minority". i hope more people start attending these rallies so we can stamp out this type of hate once and for all.
posted by cyberbry at 5:16 PM on November 29, 2002


murder = murder, death = death - no matter if was done in the name of "hate" or for "fun". ...shed a tear for both and prosecute accordingly.
posted by tomplus2 at 7:58 PM on November 29, 2002


nope tom-killing someone just because they exist is different from killing someone for money or their car...
posted by amberglow at 8:03 PM on November 29, 2002


You may feel sorrow for T/Gs who are oppressed, but I no longer have any empathy to give. Too many people are claiming "victim" status, followed shortly thereafter with some either legal or financial remedy they want support for--usually at the expense of someone else.

Nobody can make you a victim except yourself. This includes those who rage for "reparations"--not money but the perpetual right to feel oppressed, and emotionally blackmail others; to those who demand that "normals" *admire* them for being abnormal.

If you're gonna be T/G, fine. Be T/G. But the most you should ever hope for, under any circumstance, is the right to be ignored. That's real equality.
posted by kablam at 8:20 PM on November 29, 2002


boy, kablam, those dead people sure are pesky, aren't they? They're taking something out of your pocket, are they?
They really are pushing their "oppressed" agenda, being murdered and all....it's a wonder you can stand it....

Last time i checked, a person (any person) who's murdered is certainly a victim, and not by their own declaration....you really are idiotic--i can't wait to see what you have to say on the 1st...
posted by amberglow at 8:29 PM on November 29, 2002


You can swap many of their situations. Just exchange the word "political" for "transgendered." And while you're at it, exchange the word "activist" for "agitator", which is what "activists" used to be called.
Surprisingly enough, most anywhere in the world, if you make a political pest of yourself, you will get in deep trouble. The squeaky wheel gets greased. The same applies to being a "social" pest--or any kind of pest. Because most societies thrive by swatting down those who make waves.
Now, if you live in the "civilized" world, you think you have a *right* to make waves. But it is cultural imperialism to expect other nations, with other cultures, to respect the Yanqui way of doing things. They will never respect the right to dissent, politically or socially.

The great majority of the other T/G "victims" are part of the underclass in the US. Often "sex workers", who lived and died in ways not unlike how most underclass sex workers live and die.

So the bottom line is: T/Gs exist throughout our "civil" society, be they poor, middle class, or wealthy. Compare their lives with the lives of others in their class. You might be surprised to see how ordinary their lives are, in relation to their non-T/G peers.
posted by kablam at 9:02 PM on November 29, 2002


nope tom-killing someone just because they exist is different from killing someone for money or their car...

Why? Do you think the victims' feelings are hurt more or something?
posted by rushmc at 9:18 PM on November 29, 2002


it's about the killer's motivation, rush....just like in other types of murders.The victim doesn't have any feelings anymore...Funny how there are these differentiating things that the legal system and courts do regarding murder...not all murders are treated the same way, with all the same punishments....
posted by amberglow at 9:58 PM on November 29, 2002


kablam, where in that article you linked is there any mention of a desire for "normals" to admire "abnormals"? A bunch of people dressing up as Hobbits, getting harrassed and even tortured for it by the cops and daring to complain about it is a demand for admiration how?
posted by biscotti at 1:59 AM on November 30, 2002


kablam, nobody's life or death is "ordinary" to the people who love them. Sheesh, do you often feel the need to attend a wake and insult the mourners? This thread was posted as a remembrance and out of respect for the dead and the people who loved them. I don't know how anyone could click on a few of those names and not feel something - if they don't make you sad, can you at least be gracious enough to save your ax grinding for a more opportune time?
posted by madamjujujive at 6:20 AM on November 30, 2002


Ah, one of those "universal love" things, used in the generic. Like calling for a moment of silence for all those who died in the Holocaust, or the Armenian Slaughter, or the Killing Fields, or the 50,000 plus or minus who die in auto accidents in the US each year, or the 100,000 who die of Heart Disease, or those who die of gun violence.

So maybe you knew one or two of these people, or at least you met them once at a cocktail party. So in a supreme act of shallowness you slap a smarmy bumper sticker on your car.

This is all just a variation of the good old "Us and Them" attitude. The flip side of "Hate them More" is "Love us More." If we're not special because we're better than them, then we're special because we're more victimized then them.

But I'm not one of "Us", so I just don't "get it." I'm one of "Them". And you know what you think about "Them".
posted by kablam at 8:12 AM on November 30, 2002


Well said, kablam (though you kind of lost me with your last paragraph).

People are different. Difference should be tolerated, even encouraged, celebrated. Gawking at those who are different from you, even when they have been murdered, is uncouth.
posted by rushmc at 8:27 AM on November 30, 2002


So maybe you knew one or two of these people, or at least you met them once at a cocktail party. So in a supreme act of shallowness you slap a smarmy bumper sticker on your car.

way off there, kablam...just because you never knew anyone transitioning, don't assume that nobody else does either...
posted by amberglow at 9:45 AM on November 30, 2002


Wow, rushmc. Posting a list of names in remembrance of people whose deaths are too often marginalized is "gawking at those who are different than you?" When the heck did *that* happen?

Anyway, folks who were understandably put off by the site format might want to glance at this list of trans folks killed since last year's Day of Remembrance. It's a better, quicker survey of the kinds of crimes TG activists and their supporters are working to stop.

You might be surprised to see how ordinary their lives are, in relation to their non-T/G peers.

At a certain level, everyone's life is "ordinary" - we eat, shit, work, die - so, yeah, you have a shallow point. But the deeper issue here involves the many ways trans lives are more difficult than those of non-TG peers in the same social class. Going to the bathroom in a public place, for one obvious example, is a much more complex experience for a TG person. Anyone who's ever had even a casual TG acquaintance would surely know at least that.

amberglow: just because you never knew anyone transitioning, don't assume that nobody else does either...

Amen. I once dated a guy who was transitioning. One of the smartest, sexiest people I've ever met. And while I've only done drag a few times (marvelously liberating, I must say), there were two moments where I found myself in situations that were beginning to feel dangerous. It was a real education, believe me. I can't imagine what it must be like for someone trying to simply live day-to-day while transitioning.

It's appalling that anyone would imply that living that life was the equivalent of being "a political pest." And it's even more appalling that smart folks here would support that kind of thinking.
posted by mediareport at 11:18 AM on November 30, 2002


It's appalling that anyone would imply that living that life was the equivalent of being "a political pest."

What the hell would you expect in heavily Catholic Central and South America? In nations under Roman Law *any* activity *not* approved by the government *is* unlawful.
Political-Business-Social-Religious, it doesn't matter, if you stick your head up it is beaten down.

So, you are born in an unsympathetic, authoritarian regime. Yet you wish to be T/G. What do you do? Stand up and demand that they do things *your* way? That they change their ways and accept you for what you are?

Do not be surprised if you lose that fight.

However, if you go to a Common Law nation to live a T/G life, you at least have the advantage of having the law on your side (to a greater or lesser extent), a law that at least admits the *possibility* that you may have a right to be who you want to be. From that point on, it is up to you to do what you can to avoid contention with violent, irrational people.

Now this could be as simple as not hanging out in the bad part of town, or regularly interacting with the criminal element. It might also mean that you should stay away from places where alcohol is served and people overdrink.

Granted, you probably wish the freedom to associate with others who share your lifestyle and belief system. But even with them, you should discriminate against those who are contentious or attract violence into their sphere of activity. They are not your friends.

Do these actions seem unreasonable?

If after doing these things, especially not going out of your way to incite the local authorities, you are involved in an altercation with someone who hates you for being you, then you have my sympathies. You *are* the objectified target of an almost random criminal act by a deranged individual.
posted by kablam at 1:37 PM on November 30, 2002


Do these actions seem unreasonable?

Yes.
To insist that any person should have to take extra steps, above and beyond those necessary for a "normal" life, to ensure their basic physical safety is fundamentally discriminatory.

Thanks for posting this, mediareport.
posted by hippugeek at 1:52 PM on November 30, 2002


Aha, so it's *not* who you are that matters. It's what you *want* to do, your *behavior*, that you seek to justify.

Sounds like you want to play with fire but not get burned.
posted by kablam at 3:04 PM on November 30, 2002


Aha, so it's *not* who you are that matters. It's what you *want* to do, your *behavior*, that you seek to justify.

Sounds like you want to play with fire but not get burned.


yeah, like those uppity blacks who wanted to ride in the front of the bus.
posted by mdn at 3:20 PM on November 30, 2002


Or the uppity black guy who snuck into a big Klan rally, then yelled out, "I'm gonna f*ck me a white woman 'cause that's my *right*!"

Well, yes, he still maintains his right to freedom of speech, even in the middle of a Klan rally. And no, it's still a really dumb thing to do. Is the primary purpose of being a T/G to be a martyr? Does being T/G mean you've lost your common sense and want to hang with dangerous people and do dangerous things, yet somehow be magically protected from them?

I'm not T/G, and I'm not gay. I still don't hang out in the bad part of town with bad people--because it is a stupid and dangerous thing to do.

Obviously, being T/G is not the real issue here.
posted by kablam at 3:43 PM on November 30, 2002


kablam: Is the primary purpose of being a T/G to be a martyr?

Of course not, but the very fact of being transgendered in some way means that you have to live with restrictions on your freedom, on your everyday life, that others in your social class do not. I'm in transition, and I'm hyper-aware and slightly nervous for a reason. Even being sensible and avoiding bars, streets, toilets, shops, public spaces, and your own family, you can still find youself in a confrontation.

Obviously, being T/G is not the real issue here.

I would have thought that it is. In recent and not-so-recent years, crimes against the transgendered have been under-investigated, under-reported and those individuals involved misrepresented when their stories do go to press, and often simply ignored. In some cases, transgendered individuals have suffered or have died because of the action (or non-action) of those who would normally be expected to help.

Yet you wish to be T/G.

I never wished to be TG. Ever. I just am, and I have to deal with it and all of the rubbish that comes with it.

And to let you know, most trans-activists aren't fighting for anything more than basic rights to privacy, inheritance, and equal treatment by law athorities (which is generally interpreted to mean: when you come to us to report a crime against you, we will take you seriously).

Also, it may not be good for "the cause" to say this, but yes, I have a slight "us and them" attitude. With the situations I've been in, it's very, very easy to develop one.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:32 PM on November 30, 2002


Wow, rushmc. Posting a list of names in remembrance of people whose deaths are too often marginalized is "gawking at those who are different than you?"

Well, as I've made clear in the past, I think "remembrance" is wanking, so I don't really see that this thread achieves its presumed goals (and if it succeeded in that regard, it would be an agenda-pushing post, which we have agreed is a bad thing to be avoided). And in light of that failure, it exists as a "look at this odd thing on the web" link, which, while fitting the guidelines of MeFi, strikes me as a bit disrepectful (similar to this, but without the obvious humor factor).
posted by rushmc at 5:02 PM on November 30, 2002


Does being T/G mean you've lost your common sense and want to hang with dangerous people and do dangerous things....I still don't hang out in the bad part of town with bad people--because it is a stupid and dangerous thing to do.

Huh? Did it ever occur to you that many trans people are members of your "underclass" because people refuse to hire them to respectable jobs? And that discrimination--in itself a form of hate crime, and a clearer one than murder--is therefore part of the problem?

I'm extremely puzzled by your dumb-thing-to-do/don't make waves rhetoric. Several times in this thread, you've essentially said that people should not act against the status quo, even if it is blatantly wrong (a Klan rally, an "unsympathetic, authoritarian regime") because it is dangerous and they will probably fail. So how do you expect anything to change? How are you managing to ignore the evidence, proven through history again and again (especially during the Civil Rights Movement, as others have noted), that a relatively small group of rabble-rousers can effect huge and positive changes on repressive societies?
posted by hippugeek at 6:32 PM on November 30, 2002


First, there are lots of poor people who are very respectable and well-ordered. They are not criminals and do not associate with criminals. They do not do drugs or get into bar fights. They are not "sex workers." They may not have the best jobs, so they take whatever jobs there are around. They are honorable, just poor. They are not part of the "underclass", called "trash" in the vernacular, those who revel in deprivation and criminality.

Second, blacks in the United States did not rise up until it was clear that support for their movement reached into the highest levels of the government, with substantial support from the white majority in the nation. They would have been foolish to have tried what they did even 20 years before; for even a "liberal" Frank Roosevelt would have dealt with them with a severity beyond measure--as he did with others who were in the way. In Phoenix, blacks rioted (protested) against the draft and were met with the National Guard, who sprayed the asphalt before them with .30 caliber machine gun bullets. Nothing changed.

In other words, the *only* places in the world where T/Gs get *any* respect are in "enlightened" democracies, and only those that have overcome religious domination. If they want *any* respect elsewhere, they must overcome religion, culture, the law, politics, *and* win popular support. So when I say it is foolish to oppose the status quo in the rest of the world, I do not mean in standing up to a few idiots' bigotry; I mean that it is foolish to stand between two warring armies with your arms outstretched and cry "peace!"

Or at least you deserve less sympathy, for being a idiot who got killed for being an idiot. It is silly to call someone a martyr who throws himself into a volcano to protest its rudeness in spewing lava indiscriminantly.
posted by kablam at 7:39 PM on November 30, 2002


blacks in the United States did not rise up until it was clear that support for their movement reached into the highest levels of the government, with substantial support from the white majority in the nation

That's a completely ridiculous formulation. JFK was dragged into support for civil rights by black people marching *without* the approval of the white majority. The pressure from ordinary citizens on the "highest levels of government" came first; that's crystal clear from the history. I challenge you, kablooey, to come up with evidence to the contrary.

Here in Raleigh, it was black college students and a handful of white supporters who "rose up" and integrated lunch counters, theaters, auditoriums and the like. The idea that blacks waited for white authorities or the white majority to give the ok is completely laughable.
posted by mediareport at 11:43 PM on November 30, 2002


Well, okay, let's just forget about that whole Civil War thing and all of those white Yankees and their descent up North who fought then and after for the African-American, their rights and liberties.
Heck, I'll even forget how my mother, white, belonged to the NAACP in college, until she was thrown out for being white.
So the black civil rights movement just began with MLK and Jesse Jackson, who one bright, sun-shiny day decided to have a sign-carrying protest and the whole castle of racist oppression in the South fell down.

Remember, the Civil Rights movement didn't start in Raleigh. It started in Boston. It just took a long, long time to get to Raleigh.
posted by kablam at 6:24 AM on December 1, 2002


Well, okay, let's just forget about that whole Civil War thing

You're not making any sense at all, kablam. You made a specific statement related to the civil rights movement of the 1960s: "blacks in the United States did not rise up until it was clear that support for their movement reached into the highest levels of the government, with substantial support from the white majority in the nation. They would have been foolish to have tried what they did even 20 years before..."

When I called you on the clear absurdity of that statement, you ignored my request for evidence and retreated to a discussion of the Civil War. Whatever. You couldn't be more wrong about the 60s, kablam.

Remember, the Civil Rights movement didn't start in Raleigh. It started in Boston. It just took a long, long time to get to Raleigh.

Assuming you haven't wandered back to the Boston Tea Party by now, it's once again obvious you don't know what you're talking about on this issue. The best contender for the "start" of the modern civil rights movement is the sit-in by four black college students on Feb. 1, 1960 at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro, NC. The Raleigh sit-ins, organized by students at two black colleges here, began nine days later; the idea soon spread across the South. The level of excitement was so great that Raleigh's Shaw University was chosen as the site for the first meeting of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which took place that April. SNCC immediately declared its independence of MLK's Southern Christian Leadership Conference and started organizing the famous 1961 Freedom Rides. Massive, incredibly courageous voter registration drives in places like rural Mississippi soon followed.

The idea that black folks "did not rise up until it was clear" that they had "substantial support from the white majority in the nation" is patently ridiculous.

[Btw, in your replies, it would help if you offered specific facts instead of broad generalities that, so far, have been mostly incorrect.]
posted by mediareport at 8:19 AM on December 1, 2002


The best contender for the "start" of the modern civil rights movement...

I overstated that, sorry. Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott came earlier, but the Greensboro sit-ins were another major spark, not least because they led to the formation of a powerful national organization that mobilized young black students.
posted by mediareport at 8:34 AM on December 1, 2002


Only a baby boomer could be convinced that black civil rights "began" in the 1960s! How utterly arrogant!
Blacks resisted oppression during reconstruction, struggled mightily with the collapse of the "sharecropper" system, fought for economic improvement and property rights in the North, supported their half of segregated society with a 'shadow' social order throughout the US, fought to get higher education, fought to get military service, fought *against* their mis-use by the military and did whatever they could to legally challenge the Jim Crow laws. ALL BEFORE THE 1960s.

You just keep going back in your history books.
Event after event, incident after incident. Black Americans were there, always trying to better themselves and to get the recognition they deserved. Ever hear of George Washington Carver?

I'm sorry, it's *you* who have to prove that blacks were just humble, Steppin Fetchit-types before they discovered their humanity and "rights" in the 1960s.
posted by kablam at 10:07 AM on December 1, 2002


Your posts are getting nuttier and nuttier, kablam; if I have to revise my estimation of your age downward any more, I'll be forced to imagine you in diapers at the keyboard. Remember, *you're* the one who wrote the following:

"blacks in the United States did not rise up until it was clear that support for their movement reached into the highest levels of the government, with substantial support from the white majority in the nation. They would have been foolish to have tried what they did even 20 years before..."

And you're accusing *me* of calling black people "Steppin Fetchit-types"? Good lord, check yourself, would you? The insults you've thrown have been atrocious. Black folks rose up again and again without white support - flying in the face of death threats, firings and outright murder - to claim the rights they were being unfairly denied. You still haven't bothered to defend, let alone retract, your demonstrably untrue statement about their supposed need for white government support before taking those beautifully courageous stands. Once more, it wasn't me who wrote this:

So the black civil rights movement just began with MLK and Jesse Jackson, who one bright, sun-shiny day decided to have a sign-carrying protest and the whole castle of racist oppression in the South fell down.

What a wretchedly ignorant and insultingly dismissive characterization of the folks who worked for years against seemingly impossible odds to eliminate segregation in the South. You're either a troll or a fool, kablam - and fools who refuse to acknowledge when they're wrong are simply trolls on training wheels.
posted by mediareport at 12:50 PM on December 1, 2002


Can you even read, or just spout inanities:

"blacks in the United States did not rise up until it was clear that support for their movement reached into the highest levels of the government, with substantial support from the white majority in the nation. They would have been foolish to have tried what they did even 20 years before..."

To parse: "Blacks in the United States did not rise up..." Name me a black uprising in the US prior to the modern civil rights movement, granted in the 1960s. I mentioned the Phoenix riot to show what would have happened in the times *before* the 1960s. Blacks had to use other means than large scale public protest, and they did.

"...until it was clear that support for their movement reached into the highest levels of the government..." In this case the moderate
REPUBLICANS who supported the Voting Rights Act of 1964, NONE of whom were from the South.

"...with substantial support from the white majority in the nation..." Once again, NOT in the South, but in the North, there were large numbers of whites who actively HELPED to change the situation in the South. And the blacks in the South knew of this support from whites.

So, your technique of alternating between implying it was mass struggle and an individual struggle to fudge your statements is not working. Shall I explain it to you again, even more slowly, you being from the South? Just because you are near the touch-hole does not mean you are the entire powder keg.
posted by kablam at 1:29 PM on December 1, 2002


Name me a black uprising in the US prior to the modern civil rights movement, granted in the 1960s.

Er, try Googling Moton 1951 to start. Where do you think Brown v. Board of Education came from, kablam? It came from angry, courageous black people who refused to wait "until it was clear that support for their movement reached into the highest levels of the government." Shit, man, admit you were wrong and let's move on already.

The 1954 Supreme Court desegregation decision grew out of "public protest" by folks like Barbara Johns - who organized a large-scale high school strike in South Carolina at the age of 16 - Reverend Jospeh A. DeLaine - whose house and church were burned to the ground in the mid-50s - and Harry Briggs - who lost his job, among other harassment - who said "enough!" to things like white kids getting tax-supported buses while black children walked for miles every day to get to school. Read some solid history before spouting off next time, ok?

Shall I explain it to you again, even more slowly, you being from the South?

Fuck you, dude. I grew up in Queens.
posted by mediareport at 6:14 PM on December 1, 2002


Why don't you admit that you are wrong? You seem to be so convinced that I am wrong, you are arguing over semantics. I do see resistance at the individual and group level going way back, to even before the Civil War, finally climaxing in the 1960s.

But my argument is that blacks knew an "uprising", a large-scale mass of people in revolt, would have been brutally suppressed. This was true from the time of John Brown's great uprising plan, through the 1940s and perhaps part of the 1950s and J. Edgar Hoover.

But in the 1950s-1960s blacks also knew that the tide was shifting away from the segregationist, and the national mood was turning in their favor. Whites and blacks from the North went to the South to encourage them in this belief.

Then, finally, the first tentative steps were taken with success, and the great uprising happened, with the realization that there might be *some* resistance, but not the full force of the federal government to suppress them. Even oppressive local government started to look weaker and weaker, and justifiably so, when the federal government finally made clear whose side they were really on.

And this is the support from the national white majority, from the federal government they needed. Not fully supportive, but at least making clear that they will not stand in the way. That blacks who opposed segregation were not communists or trying to overthrow the government, that they were honorable people who wanted the equality they deserved against a small handful of unsympathetic reactionaries.
posted by kablam at 7:22 PM on December 1, 2002


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