Today, we honor our trans* friends who we’ve lost due the discriminatory actions that target this community. This day was created in 1999 to honor those lost and specifically “Rita Hester”, a transgender woman who also lost her life due hateful crimes. The person who decided to take action was Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender advocate. Her goal was to ensure that all those who were taken because of their identity aren’t forgotten; that we can’t let hate win and that we need to raise awareness about all the violent acts that happened against our trans* friends. This day typically ends the week of awareness events for our trans* community known as “Transgender Awareness Week”. Also, if you didn’t know, the Stonewall Riots that is symbolic in LGBT+ History was led by a transgender woman of color.
Lately, it seems we are constantly seeing in the news more violence against marginalized communities; but rarely do we hear about someone who was targeted because they identify as trans*. According to the Human Rights Campaign, there has been a minimum of 46 people who identified as “transgender and gender non-conforming people” that lost their lives. These people lost their life due to violence with this year (2021) being the highest since 2013, when the Human Rights Campaign started tracking this data. Scary thing is, this number has increased since last year. There are a multitude of reasons why these individuals lost their lives that range from racism, sexism, homelessness and the lack of accepting opportunities for these individuals (Human Rights Campaign, 2021).
So what can YOU do to help decrease these tragic events happening so we can ensure our trans* friends and family are safe & loved?
- Stay aware of the bills that are being submitted to become law in your state & county. There are A LOT of legislation that has not been submitted to protect our LGBT+ friends and anti-legislation that have been submitted that won’t protect LGBT+ individuals. These include discrimation, housing, adoption, and so much more.
- Learn about the local LGBT+ resources in your community. For any Central Florida or Tampa Bay readers, please feel free to contact me as I do have a list.
- If your employer offers, LGBT+ Ally training. This type of training can help you learn more about these specific topics and how you can be a better ally. If your employer doesn’t offer this, check out some free resources such as: https://thesafezoneproject.com/; or https://www.itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2011/11/breaking-through-the-binary-gender-explained-using-continuums/
- Show your support as an ally! This includes, going to Pride Festivals, displaying items such as ally in your workspace or social media, staying informed, standing in defense for our trans* friends and family, learning pronouns and many more
- Lastly: spread the love and kindness. This world is very hard and many are fighting different battles that remain unspoken. By telling people they are loved or checking in on them shows you care about them. It doesn’t have to be because of the holidays or a specific reason. A simple thoughtful action can easily make anyone’s day.
And if anyone hasn’t told you that you are loved and valued, then you will read it from me and the family from Variant Ventures. We love you all and appreciate your continued support especially to topics that are very close to our hearts. Keep saving the day my friends!