Across the globe, the 20th of November is set aside to remember those who have died as a result of anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.
It’s a day of sadness – only this week, a burned and dismembered body found on a Detroit road has been identified as 19-year-old transgender woman, Shelly Moore.
But it can also be a day of celebration. Communities join together in solidarity and hope for a better future.
Today is the 13th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. While the idea began in America back in the late ‘90s, it’s now marked in more than 20 countries across the world, and is particularly relevant in Australia, where 87% of the transgender people who participated in the recent Tranznation survey reported that had experienced at least one form of stigma or discrimination on the basis of their gender. A third had been threatened with violence, and one fifth had been physically attacked.
Peter Hyndal of the A Gender Agenda group in the ACT says recent law changes have helped Australian transgender people, but their physical and mental health is still of deep concern.
“While we remember the lives damaged and lost to transphobia in this country, this year we also have a lot to celebrate,” he says.
“We congratulate the Commonwealth Government on its reform of passport laws, allowing transgender people to be identified as their lived gender without the requirement of surgery, and also allowing transgender people and those of ambiguous sex to list their gender on passports with an ‘X’ if their choice is supported by a doctor’s statement.
“We are very encouraged by the Commonwealth Government’s commitment to introduce new prohibitions on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” he adds, “which is part of the current consultation on the Consolidation of Commonwealth Anti Discrimination Laws.
“Nevertheless, we know a lot more work needs to be done, especially in the areas of health reform, and sex and gender on documents. Transgender people are among the most disadvantaged in Australia, and we are keen to work with the government to significantly improve their health and wellbeing.”
The scope and seriousness of problems faced transgender and intersex Australians has led the Board of the National LGBTI Health Alliance to make sex and gender diversity one of the organisation’s top priority areas, establishing a working group composed of some of Australia’s foremost transgender activists.
Last Friday, New South Wales marked Transgender Day of Remembrance with a special event in Parliament. Today a meeting of reflection and remembrance in Melbourne is planned for Grattan Gardens Community Centre from 1pm – find out more here. A gathering will also take place in Sydney today – meet 5.30pm at Taylor Square.
And Canberra held its Transgender Day of Remembrance event on Friday – TranzAustralia has uploaded clips of what happened onto YouTube here. See the Canberra Gay and Lesbian Qwire conclude the remembrance meeting by singing the Beatles hit All You Need Is Love, below…