By Kelly Metzgar
Transgender Day of Remembrance, which occurs annually on Nov. 20, is a day to memorialize people killed as the result of transphobia (hatred or fear of transgender and gender non-conforming/non-binary people). We also remember those who died because of suicide.
This day serves to bring attention to the continued violence and non-acceptance endured by the transgender community which we see at an alarming new rate across this country.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed in cities across the U.S. and in more than 20 countries around the world. In the last 12 months in the United States alone, 44 people were brutally murdered just for identifying and presenting as transgender or gender non-binary/non-conforming. A majority of those murdered are transgender women of color. It is time to stop this violence, hate and senseless death! It is time to celebrate the wide range of gender diversity many Americans and especially many New Yorkers share.
We often confuse a person’s sex with their gender. A person’s sex is determined by their presumptive physical anatomy at birth. Gender is in our minds – how we see and think of ourselves, who we know ourselves to be, how we express ourselves daily to people around us.
Transgender, the “T” component of LGBTQIA+, refers to how we identify, express ourselves and desire to be accepted daily.
Many people in society today view LGBTQIA+ as a “choice.” I can assure you this is not a “choice” to be forced to hide ourselves from those we love, live or work with for fear of rejection, harassment, loss of employment, loss of access to medical, dental or behavioral health care services, denial of social services, public accommodations, housing, physical or verbal assaults or the very real possibility of being murdered.
We must put an end to the misinformation legislators are fed by those who seek to erase us from society. Put an end to fascist and authoritarian politicians attempting to play god by insisting they know more and are better advised than medical and behavioral health professionals as they attempt and often succeed in regulating and restricting access to vital medical and mental health care, especially for our youth. We must put an end to the interference governmental officials seek to impose on our children and youth while in public school.
Being LGBTQIA+ is not a “choice” we make. This is who we are! How we were created prior to birth. We are not looking to be changed, fixed or forced into a lifestyle deemed socially acceptable by others.
In recent years, we witness the rise in ultra-conservativism, ultra-religious liberty rights, the MAGA movement and other anti-LGBTQIA+/anti-transgender legislation enacted across the nation aimed an innocent transgender children and parents. It is increasingly not safe for our children to attend public schools, participate in sports or any other event designed to make their live as normal as possible given their transgender/gender non-binary identity. Thankfully, parents of these students are standing up to defend their children and demanding their children be treated with equal dignity, respect and consideration as any other student in school.
Non-discrimination laws enacted in recent years are constantly being challenged in many states based on “religious liberty” or “religious beliefs” of legislators, which once again seeks to deny basic human rights to LGBTQIA+ and especially transgender/gender non-binary people of all ages, races, ethnicities and social backgrounds.
Contrary to Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Bobert’s assertion, it is not up to religion to dictate or direct governmental laws and policies. There is “supposed to be” a definite and defined separation of church and state. The United States was not built as a theocracy but as a representative democracy where no religious beliefs dominate others.
The transgender community is continuing to make ourselves known and visible in everyday life. If we are to live in a modern, progressive society, we must welcome and accept all people regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression along with all the other protected groups of people who reside in this state.
When will we finally learn to “do unto others, as we want ourselves to be treated” “respect the inherent dignity and worth of every person” and to finally “love our neighbors as ourselves”? Time to practice what many say they profess!
Transgender Day of Remembrance commemoration service will be held virtually by Zoom on Sunday, Nov. 19, from 2 to 4 p.m.
For more information, email email@example.com or visit our Facebook events page to register in advance at https://www.facebook.com/adkncga.