Thursday, 19 November 2009

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Is today, which seems fair enough. I have no objection to this memorial project, and wholeheartedly condemn any violent attacks on people of any sort. But I do find the selection criteria the organisers use a bit odd, viz:

"Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgendered — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgendered people."

If the victims didn't identify themselves as transgendered, how do we know their attackers identified them thus? (We're reminded that most such attackers have never been caught, so we can't ask them.)

I'd like to stress I'm not sneering at this sort of project, but the sloppiness of the thinking undermines what is no doubt an admirable notion. Don't go attacking or killing anyone, that's what I suggest.

3 comments:

mckie said...

For the avoidance of doubt, it's November 20th. I'm afraid the blog runs an hour behind whatever time we're in now in Britain.

Cheryl said...

Let me try to explain.

Firstly the list includes people who were killed because they were friends of, or supportive of, gender variant people. In particular one of the victims this year was killed because he was the boyfriend of a trans woman.

In addition people are sometimes mistakenly killed because they are believed to be transgender even if they do not identify as such. The most outrageous example was a man who was killed because he was holding his wife's handbag while she was in a toilet. This was a public altercation so the killer's motives were known.

There are more borderline cases as well. For example, some intersex people strongly object to being described as "transgender", but are nevertheless killed because someone thought they were "men dressed as women" or vice versa. Identity politics is a minefield and the people running the TDOR web site have to be mindful of such issues.

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