Today I Remember The 300 Trans Deaths In 2018, But I Bet You Thought It Was Just Another Tuesday

Today I Remember The 300 Trans Deaths In 2018, But I Bet You Thought It Was Just Another Tuesday

Today we are remembering and celebrating the lost lives of our trans* family...but it seems as if everyone couldn't care less and the government is actively trying to erase them further.

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Transgender Day of Remembrance is held each year to remember those who died due to hate and violence. The lives that are remembered encompass a range of identities, but their deaths all have one thing in common: transphobia.

The day takes place in November to honor Rita Hester, who was murdered on November 28th, 1998. Rita was found in her apartment, stabbed in the chest 20 times. Twenty times. Unfortunately, Rita's murder is still unsolved (as are many trans murders). Whether they identified as transgender, nonbinary, or any other gender nonconforming identity, we take this day to honor the lives that were taken too soon because of hatred.

Most people don't know about Trans Day of Remembrance, let alone celebrate or honor it. Like many issues of oppression, people choose to ignore the problem because it doesn't affect them. But violence against trans people is more common than not and I don't understand how people cannot care about that. These people are being harassed, attacked, discriminated against, sexually assaulted, and killed for just being who you are. How does that not piss you off?

According to the U.S. Transgender Survey, 46% of respondents reported being verbally harassed in the past year because of how they identify and 1 in 10 reported being physically attacked in the past year for the same reason. Nearly half (47%) of respondents said they have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime and 1 in 10 reported being sexually assaulted in the past year. For trans* people of color, these numbers are even higher. The stats are horrifying, but I haven't even talked about death yet.

There have been over 300 deaths (that we know of) of trans people across the world so far in 2018. Many of these individuals were unable to be identified and their names are unknown. Not to mention that 41% of trans people are estimated to have attempted suicide in the U.S. This is 9 times more likely than cisgender Americans.

Beverly Tillery, the executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, said that she's seen a rise in hate crimes and violence towards trans people since the 2016 presidential election. And we all know that the Trump Administration is actively trying to erase trans people and oppress them even further. Not only are they trying to "redefine" gender, but there have been MANY discriminatory actions made towards the trans community since Trump entered office.

If you are in the LGBTQ+ community or claim to be an ally, how does this not infuriate you? How can you sit there and say that these facts don't break your heart or don't affect you? These are our friends and family. These individuals have lost their lives and it is up to US to make sure we don't lose any more.

TRANS LIVES MATTER! A change needs to happen. Do more and do better. Stand up for and against prejudice and discrimination of trans people. Demand change from your local lawmakers. Be there for your trans friends and family. Educate yourself. And don't just leave all the work to be done by trans people themselves, I promise they are doing all they can.

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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