Transgender Awareness Week

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Transgender Awareness Week 2013For many, November marks the time of the year to be thankful for everyone and everything we hold near and dear to us. In the trans*gender community and its allies, the end of November signifies more than that. This November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day that memorializes those who have been killed because of anti-trans violence.

Anti-trans violence is very real and its numbers are extremely disturbing. In 2012, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reported 25 hate-related homicides against the LGBTQ community in the United States. Of that 25, more than half of the victims were trans women of color, which is a shocking 40% increase of violence against trans women since 2011.  The transgender community faces particularly high rates of public discrimination as well, including unemployment; extreme poverty; harassment in schools, jobs, and on streets; and higher rates of physical and sexual assault.

Sexual violence against the transgender community is also rampant. The Transgender Sexual Violence Project reported one-third of respondents have experienced more than one incidence of sexual violence. Healthcare providers and police officers made up a portion of abusers. Unfortunately, rather than being protectors, police and medical professionals are often perpetrators of violence against the trans community due to misunderstanding and transphobia. Transgender and LGBQ people also experience street harassment that is often invisible. When discrimination, abuse, and transphobia intersect, people’s lives are damaged and even lost.

Our community refuses to stand by any type of violence. This year, let us honor those unjustly punished for not fitting neatly into society’s female and male boxes. Transgender Day of Remembrance is on November 20, and throughout that week, local groups and organizations will participate in Transgender Awareness Week. Here are local events that you can participate in to spread awareness and visibility to the transgender and non-gender conforming communities and issues impacting them.

 

No one deserves to live in fear of violence, harassment, and discrimination. Our trans community deserves to be seen and heard for more than one week out of the year. This year, let us pledge ongoing support to spread awareness and visibility to the issues and challenges faced by the transgender community.

Sherise De Leon is interning at the Center while earning the Masters of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill. In addition to supporting clients, Sherise is designing a training module for OCRCC staff and volunteers to learn about working with trans-identified people.

 

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