Sunday 20th November is Transgender Day of Remembrance. Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Consultant (lead for LGBTQ+ Inclusion), Adam Perry, explores the statistics and significance of this day.
CONTENT NOTE: Transphobia, Violence and Murder, Discrimination, Sexual Violence
Transgender day of remembrance will be taking place on Sunday 20th November. This is an international day which takes place to remember and honour trans and non-binary people who have been murdered because of transphobic violence and hate crime. The day originally started in 1999 by trans advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honour Rita Hester, a trans woman who was killed in 1998.
Violence directed at trans and non-binary people for exercising their basic right to exist within society is sadly not uncommon. Transrespect versus Transphobia run a Murder Monitoring Project which started in April 2009 as a cooperation between Transgender Europe (TGEU) and the academic online magazine Liminalis – A Journal for Sex/Gender Emancipation and Resistance. Information from the Murder Monitoring Project Name list estimates that between October 2021 and September 2022, 327 trans and non-binary people have been murdered globally. Sadly, these numbers include a UK citizen, with a 28-year-old being fatally stabbed in Downpatrick. The data is based on internet reports and activist reported data, as it is challenging to obtain accurate numbers. The actual number is likely much higher.
It is important to acknowledge that the trans and non-binary community is not a homogenous group. It is vital to use an intersectional lens to understand transphobia and trans violence. Of the 327 people who tragically lost their lives to transphobia:
- 95% were trans women or trans feminine people;
- Where occupation was known, 50% were sex workers;
- 65% of the reported murders were Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic*;
*The Trans Murder Monitoring Project uses the term ‘racialised people’ to refer to those that have been negatively racialised or racialised as ‘other’, within King’s and the UK, we would use Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, although we understand that there isn’t one ‘perfect’ term.
Whilst the focus of Transgender day of Remembrance is on honouring those who are no longer with us, it would be remiss to not acknowledge that murder is just one of the risks of harm faced by trans and non-binary people. At current, media and political discourse is polarised and at times, dehumanising. This can exacerbate the already bleak statistics on transphobia. In the UK, the Galop Hate Crime Report found that 29% of trans people had been subject to physical violence, whilst 17% had experienced sexual violence. A 2018 Stonewall report into LGBTQ+ students experiences in universities found that 7% cent of trans students were physically attacked by another student or a member of university staff because of being trans and 39% of trans students would not feel comfortable to report this to university staff. The alarming reality is that transphobia (and the harm caused by this) is a feature of our society, and likely exists within our university community.
Show Your Support:
King’s is committed to ensuring trans staff and students are part of a supportive and inclusive work/study environment, and do not face discrimination on the grounds of their gender identity. We are collectively responsible for creating and maintaining a safe and inclusive community. There are several ways in which you can show your support:
- KCLSU and the Chaplaincy team are holding a vigil Friday 18th November; 5.30- 8pm at Kings College Chapel, Strand Building, details of which are here.
- Check in with your trans and non-binary students and colleagues. Transgender Day of Remembrance can be an emotionally challenging day for many members of the community.
- Educate yourself on trans identities and transphobia:
King’s Trans Matters Toolkit is a good starting point with resources to help managers learn how best to support trans and non-binary staff and information for students and staff on transitioning at King’s.
- Attend KCLSU Trans Awareness Week festival events.
- Register your interest in a Trans Matters Training session for your department/faculty by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is important to look after your wellbeing. Transgender Day of Remembrance can be emotive. If you find yourself grappling with unexpected feelings or distress, please do contact the King’s Counselling and Wellbeing Service or the LGBT Switchboard which is available from 10am-12am every day.
Want to Learn more about Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at King’s College London?
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