Transgender Day of Remembrance, recognized each year on November 20th, honors the memory of transgender people lost to fatal violence and homicide. According to tracking by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), at least 23 transgender people were killed in acts of violence in 2016. Of those lost in 2016, 95% were transgender people of color, and 85% were trans women. HRC admits that their estimation of 23 lives lost is unreliable and likely lower than the actual number, because of the numerous difficulties involved in tracking these crimes. Reasons include the fact that crimes against transgender people are often underreported and gender identities may be misidentified by the media or law enforcement.
And sadly, so far in 2017 HRC estimates that 25 transgender people have already been lost to acts of violence. Often their deaths can be directly linked back to anti-trans prejudice. And, even in cases where this direct connection cannot be made, it is often clear that the victim’s transgender identity in some way made them more at risk of being a victim of crime. For example, transgender people are much more likely to become homeless than people who are not transgender, and homelessness puts a person at a much higher risk of becoming a victim of a violent crime.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time to pause and honor each person, tell their story, and remember them. But scholar Sarah Lamble notes in Retelling Racialized Violence, Remaking White Innocence: The Politics of Interlocking Oppressions in Transgender Day of Remembrance:
None of us are innocent. We must envision practices of remembrance that situate our own positions within structures of power that authorize violence in the first place. Our task is to move from sympathy to responsibility, from complicity to reflexivity, from witnessing to action. It is not enough to simply honor the memory of the dead — we must transform the practices of the living.
It’s important to have discussions about violence against transgender people and talk about how we might be complicit in the circumstances of their deaths. How can we change that? What can we do to bring this number down to the only statistic that is acceptable — zero. Greater education about trans people and the issues they face is one important factor. Visibility and representation is another. As a society we can look at what programs and services, or legislation, can be enacted to better serve and protect transgender individuals. Even better, how do we build a more inclusive society where trans people are recognized as human beings worthy of equality and no longer seen as “other?” It’s only when all that happens that we may see anti-trans prejudice begin to decline, and violence against transgender people along with it.
You can read more about Transgender Day of Remembrance, find a local event or candlelight vigil, gather resources on trans issues, and learn what action you can take from the following places:
Wednesday, October 19th is Spirit Day, bringing awareness to the topic of bullying targeted towards LGBTQ youth.
According to GLAAD, “Spirit Day is a means of speaking out against LGBTQ bullying and standing with LGBTQ youth, who disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities. Pledging to “go purple” on Spirit Day is a way for everyone — forward-thinking companies, global leaders, respected celebrities, neighbors, parents, classmates, and friends — to visibly show solidarity with LGBTQ youth and to take part in the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world.”
There are several ways you can participate in Spirit Day:
- Take the pledge to show you support LGBTQ youth and stand against bullying
- Learn facts about bullying by downloading GLAAD’s available resources kits designed for the public, students, and teachers
- Spread the word, especially on social media using #SpiritDay
- Go Purple, by wearing purple clothing or accessories, and also using social media profile photo frames promoting Spirit Day
- If you have the passion and means to do so, donate to GLAAD to take a stand against discrimination and prejudice.
The pledge, resource kits, shareable facts, social media supplies, and more are all available on GLAAD’s website.
On June 20th at 1pm EST iCarol will host a webinar with Dustin MacDonald of Distress Centre Durham, aimed at providing helplines and other non-profit organizations with helpful information and insight on best practices for serving the LGBTQ community.
Dustin will discuss a range of topics including:
- Suicide ideation and suicide rates among LGBTQ individuals
- Common issues and topics to be aware of
- How to best provide emotional support to LGBTQ individuals
- And much more!
We hope you’ll join us for this special event in celebration of Pride Month. You can learn more about this webinar and register by clicking the button below.
Learn More and Register
On Thursday September 1st at 12pm EST, YouthRex will present a webinar entitled Supporting Trans Youth Wellbeing.
Description from the YouthREX website:
Transgender youth experience significant barriers to wellbeing. Join Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre (SARAVYC), and Jay Jonah, Master of Social Work student at York University and YouthREX Research Assistant, to discuss recent research that can support the removal of these barriers.
In this webinar, Dr. Saewyc will provide an overview of key findings from the Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey. Jay Jonah will share an overview of a YouthREX report on Trans Youth and the Right to Access Public Washrooms that includes practical recommendations for youth sector programs and organizations.
The start of a new school year is upon us, and with it comes with feelings of excitement and anticipation, along with some fear and anxiety. As kids prepare to head back to class, they’re exposed to issues that may not have played a prominent role in their lives over the summer. Back-to-school time is a great time for parents to get a refresher course on the best ways to approach topics like body image, mental health, sex, drug and alcohol use, and LGBTQ issues when talking with their kids. And kids and teens can benefit from information about health, self-esteem, self-image, and disorders that may affect the way they see or treat themselves.
Mental Health America just released its 2016 Back to School Toolkit, which includes key messages, articles, social media messages and graphics, infographics, and other materials to help both parents and kids have a happy and healthy school year.