Transgender Day of Remembrance 2008

November 20, 2008

Today – 20 November – is the Transgender Day of Remembrance

Please spare a few moments quiet contemplation for all those of my sisters and brothers who can’t be here today.

  • Teisha Cannon
  • Dilek Ince
  • Duanna Johnson
  • Aimee Wilcoxson
  • Ruby Molina
  • Nakhia (Nikki) Williams
  • Samantha Rangel Brandau
  • Jaylynn L. Namauu
  • Angie Zapata
  • Juan Carlos Aucalle Coronel
  • Rosa Pazos
  • Ebony (Rodney) Whitaker
  • Silvana Berisha
  • Felicia Melton-Smyth
  • Lloyd Nixon
  • Luna (no last name reported)
  • Simmie Williams Jr.
  • Lawrence King
  • Sanesha (Talib) Stewart
  • Ashley Sweeney
  • Fedra (no last name reported)
  • Adolphus Simmons
  • Stacy Brown
  • Patrick Murphy
  • Gabriela Alejandra Albornoz
  • Brian McGlothin
  • Kellie Telesford
  • Ali (no last name reported) and two other Iraqi trans women


Other bloggers who have posted about the TDoR include:

Antony & The Johnsons – Bird Gehrl

I am a bird girl now
I’ve got my heart
Here in my hands now
I’ve been searching
For my wings some time
I’m gonna be born
Into soon the sky
‘Cause I’m a bird girl
And the bird girls go to heaven
I’m a bird girl
And the bird girls can fly
Bird girls can fly


Cross-posted at The F-Word on 20 November 2008


ETA #1, 21 November 2008: It’s strange how I can publish a post here and comments are by and large carried out in a completely grown-up way. And I can cross-post the identical piece at The F-Word and the first comment I get is this:

m Andrea said:
Normally, we consider people who use their emotions in place of reason to be utter fucking morons.

The basic premise of transgender ideology is that girl and boy brains exist, and are different from each other. Girl brains luv pink, and are rilly soft and gentle. Boy brains luv blue, and are rilly hard and aggressive.

The basic premise of feminist ideology is that no such difference exists. Oops, we have a discreptancy!

Since some women are quite the aggressive fuck, they must be a boy. Therefore, they are transgendered. Amazingly enough, wanting a penis is not required for women to be an aggressive fuck, so something is quite illogical regarding your theory.

Perhaps insanity is the answer.

(Posted on 21 November 2008 at 4:03 PM)

This is almost a stereotypical comment from this character, but I was very cross at her for doing this on a post about such a sensitive subject – but that’s why she did it, let’s be honest. So I replied as follows (I want to record this exchange for posterity):

Helen G said:
Hello mAndrea.

It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?

So then. This comment of yours: even though it’s transphobic hate speech, plain and simple, I feel it’s worth publishing as an example of just one sort of violence that people like you use to attack trans and other gender non-conforming people across the world on a daily basis.

Of course, your violence isn’t the physical violence used to murder my trans sisters and brothers named in my post; and it isn’t the mental violence that pushes others of us into taking our own lives. But even verbal violence such as yours is still violence, and it cannot be tolerated by anyone with even an ounce of humanity, with a heart, with a soul. Logic and reasoning aren’t even required.

And it hasn’t gone unnoticed that you singled out a post made on our Remembrance Day. It’s my guess that you have done this as a shock tactic similar to the desecration of headstones by fascist thugs.

It’s a means of getting attention, and on this occasion I’ve decided to oblige you.

Why? Well, here’s the deal, girlfriend:

As long as I am a blogger at The F-Word, I will never again publish any comment of yours that may arrive in any mod queue for which I’m responsible.

That’s all. Game over.

Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your 15 minutes.

(Posted on November 21, 2008 7:49 PM)


ETA #2, 22 November 2008:
This was my closing comment at The F-Word. There was a wonderful response to m Andrea’s words; I think she was roundly condemned by someone from every point on the gender spectrum. There were a couple of minor trolls made a late appearance, but weren’t saying anything we haven’t heard before. Don’t feed ’em, was my view.

M Andrea herself won’t learn anything from it, of course, but the sense of solidarity amongst the commenters was inspiring to see.

Helen G said:
I write this on Saturday morning, two days after my community’s Remembrance Day. It’s the one day of the year which allows us, collectively, to focus on and grieve for our sisters and brothers whose rights to life have, without exception, been violently denied by those who have appointed themselves as judge, jury and executioner.

But it is only one day, and my community remembers and mourns our loss each and every day, we carry their memories in our hearts always, and we do not need a specific day to think of those whose existences have been so brutally extinguished. So I believe it is now time to begin to move back into our lives and to continue our daily struggle to survive, to maintain, to learn, to progress – and to live.

Trans people cannot and will not be morally mandated out of existence, nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in this thread. However we self-identify, trans or cis, we move forward together and continue our collective work to help bring about the time when we can know, without doubt, that a specific Remembrance Day will not be needed. Sadly, I do not believe this time is yet with us.

I read many, many people’s words as I compiled the link round-up in my post and one comment has been coming back into my mind on an almost hourly basis. I would like to leave you with it:

If you’re human, you’re entitled to human rights

Comments are now closed.

Thank you
22 November 2008

(Posted on November 22, 2008 7:07 AM)

19 Responses to “Transgender Day of Remembrance 2008”

  1. […] Transgender Day of Remembrance 2008 by Helen G […]

  2. […] The Quick and the Dead How to Mourn Remember Transgender Day of Remembrance 2008 […]

  3. […] Day of Remembrance, and the above quote was taken from Remembering Our Dead. Both Debi and Helen G have a list of other bloggers who have posted about […]

  4. […] Transgender Day of Remembrance 2008 « bird of paradox says: November 20th, 2008 at 2:52 pm – Edit […]

  5. […] Transgender Day of Remembrance – Helen, Bird of Paradox How To Mourn – Queen Emily, Sexual Ambiguities Remember – Zan, Butterfly Cauldron Transgender Day Of Remembrance 2008 – The F Word The Quick And The Dead – Little Light, Taking Steps Full Spectrum – Piny, Feministe Transgender Day Of Remembrance – Lesbilicious “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it” ~ George Santayana – Caroline, Better Burn That Dress Sister Today Is The Annual Transgender Day Of Remembrance – Autumn Sandeen, Pam’s House Blend Transgender Day of Remembrance 2008 – Cara, The Curvature […]

  6. […] 20, 2008 via Bird of Paradox Please spare a few moments quiet contemplation for all those of my sisters and brothers who can’t […]

  7. […] Also check out the list at Bird of Paradox. […]

  8. […] Bird of Paradox and Feministe both have link round-ups. […]

  9. […] Helen G; Little Light, again; Piny; Queen Emily Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Kelly […]

  10. HelenGB Says:

    bindel is a feminist too and there are, apparently, an awful lot of feminists out there who agree with her. so if you post at a feminist blog, you’re gonna find anti-trans hatred pretty much 100% of the time.

  11. Lisa Harney Says:

    What’s your point?

  12. Lisa Harney Says:

    I mean, more seriously, it sounds like you’re chiding Helen for calling out the bigotry – why? Do you think Helen doesn’t know about the transphobia in feminism? How even many so-called cis supporters refuse to engage or condemn it? How many think that believing trans people should be mandated out of existence is simply a difference of opinion?

  13. HelenGB Says:

    No, I wasn’t having a go at Helen and I apologise if what I wrote looks like I was. I guess it’s the time of year, or the Bindel thing and how that’s turning out but I feel more hopeless about things. I’ve just got to the point where I don’t expect anything but abuse from feminists and just think BoP was asking for trouble posting a TDoR post there.

    I know it’s unfair and tarring all with the same brush, but nowadays I assume all feminists are transphobic unless they say otherwise. So when yet another transphobic feminist turns up on a feminist blog I am completely unsurprised. In fact I was surprised so many slagged m Andrea off. Where were they when we were critiquing bindel (oh I know, we shouldn’t say anything cos she’s a valuable feminist voice yadda yadda)

    I simply don’t believe that trans people are ever going to be accepted or respected by feminists. So I was simply saying that if you post on a feminist website, you must expect abuse. We’re never really going to be welcomed.

    I’m sorry if I’m hitting the wrong note, but this stuff lately has really got me down.

  14. Lisa Harney Says:

    Well, I agree wrt cis feminists. I don’t trust most cis feminists until they prove otherwise – but then I don’t trust most cis people until they prove otherwise.

    Anyway, I don’t think Helen was surprised by any of it, but that doesn’t dampen the anger.

  15. queen emily Says:

    Right. Well, I understand why you’d be jaded on cis feminists, but yeah, simplistic in the extreme.

    I mean, you *must* expect abuse? No, I don’t think so. I don’t accept that, cos it veers way too close to blame the victim.. I expect cis feminists to bloody do better, and I think in my more optimistic days there’s enough space in feminism for some of them to do so. Also, there’s a difference–if sometimes fine–between abuse and being marginal. I expect my perspective as a trans woman to be ignored on some cis feminist sites, but not necessarily abused. “Tolerance” innit.

    I mean, there were numerous threads on Feministe that did not get the same kind of ugly comments. So it’s not uniform by any means, and I think the site’s moderation policy–not to mention general culture–makes a huge difference. If transphobes know their comments will either be not approved, or critiqued hard, then they won’t derail trans issues with their bullshit. So that’s a particular reflection on TFW imo.

    And you know, it’s not like oh there’s us over here and “feminists” over there, we’ve always been part of feminism, and even those of us who are heartily sick of being shat upon often have some kind of relationship to it–feminist communities, theory, summat. It’s fraught, but it’s still there too. I don’t like the idea of erasing trans feminism simply because there’s jerks like mAndrea out there.

  16. HelenGB Says:

    Yes, I’d go for tolerance but, having hung out with UK feminists since the early 80s, I’ve come to believe that when it comes to transphobia it’s too entrenched in feminist culture. It’s the default option and you have to have a reason to be trans-accpeting.

    Nor do I think it’s blaming the victim to point out that the transgendered should expect abuse on feminist sites. It’s just in the nature of cis feminism that there are strands of trans-hatred that will come out given the opportunity. Do I want them to do “bloody better” ? Of course. Do I expect that to happen ? No.

    Some versions of feminism that are very attractive to the ideologically minded are inherently transphobic, I am not sure that there is one that is trans-positive. Therefore acceptance remains an individual act where it’s simply an opinion and we have to negotiate our acceptance on a 1-2-1 basis. It will reuqire a philosophical change for feminism as a whole to accept us. Until then: Expect abuse.

  17. belledame222 Says:

    It does seem like the particularly noxious forms of transphobic feminism get more play in the UK right now for whatever reason (i.e. that school of radical feminism). I’m not saying we’re better overall wrt trans issues, but wrt feminism as such, there’s no equivalent of Bindel who has a column, for instance…

  18. Helen G Says:

    Well, I’m not sure I actually consider Ms Bindel a radical feminist, as such. I think she’s merely a celebrity journalist who’s making feminism a lifestyle issue. Many of the comments made on a recent post of hers were quite critical of her, so I (naively) live in hope that the tide is slowly turning.

    As for the charming mAndrea, I’m told that she lives in America, which suggests to me that people who are intolerant of gender-nonconforming people, are to be found pretty much anywhere.

    How widely the views of these transphobes are disseminated is perhaps more to do with their chosen medium of expression than whether or not what they say is factually correct. Ms Bindel uses the platform given her by a national newspaper; whereas mAndrea uses an electronic medium (the web). Although, given the potentially huge audience online, as opposed to the limited print run of Ms Bindel’s regular outlet, it’s ironic that mAndrea probably has only a fraction of the readership that Ms Bindel receives.

    But hate speech is still hate speech, whatever format it comes in, and must be faced down wherever it appears. Although personally, when I consider how many other bad things are happening in the world right now – seriously bad things – it mystifies me why the likes of Ms Bindel and mAndrea are prepared to invest so much time and energy in their hate campaigns against trans people.

    All I want is to be able to live my life as a trans woman, openly and without fear of reprisal for being trans, and to be afforded the same civil liberties as anyone else. I cannot understand why people like Ms Bindel and mAndrea want to deny me those rights, at the same time as they claim equal rights for themselves.

    I no longer really care whether I was ‘born this way’ or ‘became this way’: whatever made me, I am, and all the oppression, prejudice, bigotry and hatred in the world won’t change that.

    I’m increasingly of the view that ‘gender’ is an excuse for oppression – nothing more and nothing less. And as Stephen Whittle said: “Feminism is about a better set of values in which gender loses some of its power of oppression, in which separate and distinct voices are not only heard but also listened to, and in which a better set of values is followed. That is what we who are trans can gain from them – but perhaps much more importantly now, it is also something we can give back to them.”

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