Thankful for the positive strides; still work to do

by Amanda Kerri
Trans Issues Columnist

I’ve never understood why November is Trans Awareness month or November 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Maybe it has something to do with Thanksgiving. We have made a lot of huge strides forward this year, and we should be aware of those and thankful for them.

This year was the first year a transgender person was invited to speak at a major political convention and to address issues facing our country. More companies than ever are providing health plans that provide the necessary medical services that we need, as well as written policies that protect us from discrimination.

There is more visibility for our community in film and television. The Obama administration has forced the courts to address discrimination against us in schools by ordering protections that will be certainly affirmed by the courts that will hear the disputes from states protesting against them.

North Carolina, the most notable state that has protested these protections, has lost hundreds of millions of dollars in potential revenue as groups of all kinds have withdrawn their business from these states as a form of protest.

We have been given the right to serve in the military, which will also provide the necessary medical services we need. These are all things that are important for making our lives better, and will spread out through the country as more and more people learn to overcome their prejudices.

On the “dark side”, there is a lot of work to be done – we still have a lot of problems that need to be fixed.

There had been more transgender women murdered this year that we know of than any other, the last just last month. Most of these women who have been killed were victims of brutal crimes, with one being reportedly stabbed over one hundred times. Some sickos have such a loathing for transgender people that they will commit horrible acts against us because they do not even see us as human beings.

To add to the horror of the attack, officials are often unaware of how to deal with transgender people. Many victims are mis-gendered by the media and police because they lack either the education or any sense of actually caring about us that they do not respect that these people have changed their names, their gender markers, and that they are who they say they are. Even in death we do not receive the respect that we ask for.

Worse, these women are often sex workers because they cannot find good employment that keeps them off the streets. I’ve long harped on the issues that we face in employment in that we have staggering rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness.

There are even homeless shelters that won’t let transgender people spend the night there because we make the people who run it uncomfortable. So much for charity.

It’s easy though to keep harping on these dark things. These dark and depressing issues can become almost comforting in talking about because it’s easier than trying to find the good things to talk about. But they are out there.

The strides forward are no consolation for having to mourn the number of victims of violence against our community. But I think that’s why we observe Transgender Awareness Month, the Transgender Day of Remembrance and Thanksgiving in November.

Thanksgiving has never been about how much we have, but how much we are thankful for what we have. I for one am thankful for all that we have gained this year, and am hopeful that we will be able to give thanks for even more next year.


Copyright 2016 The Gayly - 11/6/2016 @ 9:45 a.m.