Why Jews should observe Transgender Day of Remembrance this week

Why Jews should observe Transgender Day of Remembrance this week

By Surat Knan, who runs www.rainbowjews.comtrans-ally

‘While I am a trans ally, it’s really that I’m a human ally. Trans people are people. I firmly believe that every person should live with full dignity and have full access to opportunity regardless of whether or not they fit within society’s restrictive and rigid binary code for gender or sexuality. I firmly believe people should feel safe expressing themselves fully in their community. Every person deserves the right to be visible and heard. As a human ally, I want a world where my future children see every person treated with respect and are taught to do the same. I want my children to live and succeed, not just exist and recede into seclusion. They shouldn’t feel alienated, be called freaks, or attacked for being true to themselves.’ Dan Shulman: Why I Care About Trans Day of Remembrance as a (“Cisgender”) Gay Man via www.myjewishlearning.com

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1998 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honour the memory of Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts, USA. Since its inception, TDoR has slowly evolved from the web-based project started by Smith into an international day of action.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people — sometimes in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.” – Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith

7789190726_acb2773a77_b-635x700Typically, a TDoR memorial includes a reading of the names of those who lost their lives during the previous year, and may include other actions, such as candlelight vigils, film screenings, or marches.

This year worldwide more than 200 people have died at the hand of anti-transgender violence. Yet, most transgender deaths are unreported or lost due to mis-gendering.

It’s important to realise that no one is safe; anyone can potentially fall victim to anti-transgender violence. Trans* people are those who you may think of first, but anyone who is perceived as not being “masculine” or “feminine” enough by their attackers is at risk.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day of solemnity and mourning. It’s a day where we remember and honour those we have lost. We continue to fight for a better world.

All Jews should observe Transgender Day of Remembrance, because we all have lived in fear of being seen as ‘the other’. We all remember humanity failing to stand up, resulting in over 6 million Jews murdered – and countless more – for being “other.”

Let’s all be allies for each other. Let’s bring an end to the silence around gender expression, making sure we do not allow any space for prejudice, bullying and abuse of any kind in our communities and schools. Let’s create a society in which every person can live a dignified life.

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