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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 23, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 47
Confronting Transphobia
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Confronting Transphobia

White House, Seattle residents observe Transgender Day of Remembrance

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

November 20 marked the 14th observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, an international recognition and in memory of the people lost to anti-Transgender fear, discrimination, and violence.

In Seattle, Mac S. McGregor, local Transgender activist and Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea) Director of Outreach for that community, said, 'Transgender Day of Remembrance, is a day for all of us to reflect on why people are violent to those who are different from them, and how we can change that.'

Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1998 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a Transgender graphic designer, columnist, and activist, to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts. The day is now observed in at least 20 countries and in more than 185 cities.

'This day of remembrance reminds us that there is still a great deal of work to do not just to create equality but just the freedom and safety to live true to self,' said McGregor. 'It is a day to let the families and friends of those who have died due to hate know that we will not forget and we will work for understanding, safety, and the freedom to live a full life for all.'

HOW TO BE AN ALLY
Here are some steps you can take to help ensure that Transgender people's rights are respected and the violence stops:

o Get involved in your schools GSA and make sure your GSA is Transgender and gender-nonconforming inclusive.

o Celebrate Transgender heroes and role models.

o Make a commitment to support Transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

o Be careful not to box people into gender stereotypes.

o Avoid gender-biased language and never use Transphobic slurs - not even in 'jest.' (You can't be sure how others will perceive your words.)

o Don't assume anyone's gender identity. If necessary, ask respectfully how a person identifies.

o Respect the diversity of all gender identities and expressions.

o Go to the GLSEN website (www.glsen.org) and take the Ally Pledge.

'Together we can make a difference and create positive change,' said McGregor. 'Stand with me for the freedom for all to live true to self.'

NATIONAL OBSERVANCES
National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said, 'Today, NCTE is in solemn vigil for the Transgender people we've lost to senseless anti-Transgender violence. Transgender Day of Remembrance is a chilling reminder that the work we all do too often comes too late for many in our community. So today, we reflect on the people we've lost. And tomorrow, we renew our commitment to ending the discrimination and violence that keeps many more of us imprisoned with fear.'

As part of Transgender Day of Remembrance, NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling and NCTE Director of Policy Harper Jean Tobin, along with two dozen other Transgender advocates, joined the White House observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance. John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management, led the group in a moment of silence to honor Transgender victims of violence.

'To have a senior administration official leading us in commemorating Transgender victims of violence is a good thing' said Keisling. 'But to have President Barack Obama's commitment to solving anti-Transgender violence affirmed in today's meeting is a great thing.'

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