Saturday, November 20th is International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR). OPSEU/SEFPO joins in remembering those who have died as a result of transphobia-related violence worldwide. It’s also a chance to bring greater attention to the effects of transphobia.
TDoR is a reminder that transphobia, and the violence associated with it, is systemic and must be stopped. Hate crimes grow substantially in environments where people are given implied permission to hate. It is up to governments and communities to defend trans people, ensuring they are safe and respected in their communities, workplaces and homes.
Through various international reports, it is clear that violence disproportionately affects racialized trans women, particularly Black trans women, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia combine to deny them employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities.
Stigma, denial of opportunity and increased risk factors compound to create a culture of violence.
Education, training and representation in our workplaces and institutions must occur, but that’s difficult when governments are not on board. We see this around the world. In Ontario, many trans people are feeling lonelier and vulnerable as a result of the pandemic. Many continue to struggle at home where they’ve been living with unsupportive family members. They are subject to abuse which leads to mental health problems. Some are forced to live and work on the streets where it could be far more dangerous than home.
What can we as a society do?
- Be mindful about using a person’s preferred pronouns and work on normalizing these conversations.
- Donate time, money and resources to services working for trans people. You can find a list of Canadian and provincial trans organizations who need support here.
- Commit to being a better ally to trans and non-binary people.
An ally is able to look within their life and see where they can make a difference. That could be who you vote for: locally, provincially or even for the school board. Do they care about trans issues? Or show allyship at work. Are trans people there? We know it’s difficult for a trans person to secure employment. You can ask HR if any trans people have ever applied. If not, ask if they are doing any outreach to trans communities.
- Show your support by sharing the hashtags #TDOR, #TRANSVISIBILITY, #STOPTHEVIOLENCE through social media, watch trans documentaries and read stories to learn more about the trans community. We recommend these free ones on YouTube:
Gender Diversity and Identity in Queertopia
Transforming Gender – Real Stories
Laverne Cox Presents the T Word
I Am They: A non-binary transgender love story
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer
Morgen Veres, OPSEU/SEFPO Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel Co-Chair