Trans Day of Remembrance 2016: How Canadians Can Do More

Alright friends and followers! I have to get a bit real here for a moment because today is a really important, and heavy, day for trans, genderqueer, enby, and gender diverse folk. Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance; a time for our community to mourn and pay respect to those of us who were murdered or died by suicide throughout the year.

This year, we are mourning the loss of 295 reported killing and deaths of trans people as a result of transphobic [a generalized fear, dislike, or prejudice against trans people] violence.

As most of you likely known, I’m queer and genderqueer. Each year, I deal with my own struggles of online and offline harassment and intimidation while simultaneously reading constant dehumanizing comments from public figures, as well as hearing about the countless queer and trans people of color who face far worse, losing their lives.

2016 has been particularly violent though… not only overseas in countries where homophobia and transphobia have long been LOUD core tenants of their culture, society, and politics; but here as well, in North America, as anti-trans sentiments permeate the province of Alberta (and central Canada as a whole) and blatantly anti-LGBTQ discourse surges throughout the every level of North American society.

But I want to take a moment to speak to my Canadian friends here as quite a few of you have asked me, “How can I help?”

For several years now, the Canadian Senate has been dominated by Conservative Party members who have actively prevented the passage of any trans rights bills.

Typically, they accomplish this by either outright refusing to consider the bill altogether, or by actually adding clauses to it that end up turning the once positive bill into a discriminatory one. This last happened in early 2015 as Senate members such as Senator Don Plett, actively worked to poison the last Canadian trans rights bill C-279.

Right now, the most recent trans rights bill, Bill C-16 has passed the House of Commons and is on its way to the Senate… a Senate consisting of some of the same people who have historically worked to undermine the rights of trans Canadians at every term due to transphobic sentiment. Despite numerous attempts at providing education to those on the Senate who fear trans people in public spaces, they refused to listen to us and gutted the last trans rights bill anyway.

So, what I really need my friends, family, and any Canadian followers to do is to contact your Senator by whatever means and let them know that you expect them to, as a friend of mine recently posted online: “allow the decisions of the democratically-elected parliament to be carried out, to allow Gender Identity and Gender Expression to be added to the Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code Hate Crimes provisions.

Find your senators here:
http://www.parl.gc.ca/SenatorsBio/default.aspx?Language=E

Call them.

Tell them you will not support willful ignorance. Tell them you expect them to protect vulnerable minorities and ensure that they are afforded the same basic rights and provisions as everybody else. This isn’t about differing opinions here… we’re only “political” because politicians and bigots decided to politicize our existence. We’re living, breathing, feeling, human beings and, at the very least, we need to be treated as such.

Other Things That You Can Do

  • If you see hateful comments, call them out.
  • If you see prejudice and misinformation being spread, challenge it and direct people to educational resources.
  • If you see a trans person being harassed, intimidated, followed, and/or threatened on the street, or in a mall, or at a store, then go to them and stand with them. Talk with them. Help remove them from potential harm.
  • If you see transphobic policies in your workplace or community, demand that they are changed.
  • If your elected leaders say bigoted or prejudiced things about trans people, then hold them accountable for those comments and demand better of them.
  • If you know of specific businesses or business owners who are antagonistic of trans people, or have transphobic policies, then DON’T support them any longer. Stop giving them your money, inform others of their actions, and rally others to speak out against them as well.

Further, educate YOURSELF too. Trans people aren’t just trans women or trans men, we are an extremely diverse range of individuals. We are queer. We are genderqueer. We are non-binary, nonconforming, gender fluid, two-spirit, or agender, too.

Make yourself aware of the fact that the VAST majority of LGBTQ murders and hate attacks in North America are perpetuated against queer and trans people of color, so, enure that your pro-trans activism is anti-racist activism too.

Please, support us all.

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