20 November 2008

A day to remember Transgender deaths

In our society, most people "get" gay and lesbian attraction. They even understand bisexual attraction. They may disagree with it on biblical grounds or even biological grounds, but they "sort of" understand it.

There is one issue that completely confuses them and they cannot understand it -- transgender. If the GLB community feels discrimination, it is nothing compared to what the transgender community experiences, in my opinion.

Did you know 20 November is the annual day of remembrance for all who have died because of gender identity? I did not know about this until a few minutes ago.

Chris Paige, publisher of TransFaith online write the following:

The Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20, 2008) is set aside to remember those lost to anti-transgender violence in the last year.

Much of this violence is fueled by a sentiment that it is tacitly and explicitly reinforced by narrow understandings of gender, as well as outright transphobia and homophobia expressed in the name of a Christian God. Too many of us have no only heard "God condemns you" -- but also "It would be better if you were dead."

It is a profound and important step for every faith community to join in a resounding chorus that condemns all forms of violence against people who are differently gendred.

- By vocally condemning anti-trans bullying, harassment and hate crimes, we begin to chip away at the self-righteous fuel that feeds those who believe they are doing God's will by punishing the differently gendered.

- By loudly proclaiming that people of all genders are beloved, we begin to address the rampant rate of depression and suicide among transgender youth and adults that so often encouraged by religious judgement.

- BY reaching out in love to the transgender community, we begin to undermine the isolation and low self-esteem that can under grid substance abuse and high-risk behaviours (which inform high rates of HIV and AIDS).

Beyond the hate and judgement, trans people's lives are at risk because we so often struggle to meet our most fundamental needs such as safe employment and basic health care. Faith communities need to be out in front of such justice issues as well.

So, this year, let us (re)commit ourselves to the work of speaking up and speaking out, to the work of educating ourselves and educating others, to the work of reaching out in love.
That is very well said, Chris! I must admit that I must better educate myself regarding transgender issues.

I also found a good little blog - check it out -- TransEpiscopal.