Every year on November 11th I remember a man who took my place in Northern Ireland and died while doing so. I place a poppy while others watch in disapproval of my actions. Some of these people, unlike myself, never served in the forces, police force and often not even a volunteer fireman or public service capacity. They feel they are superior just because they are and I am not.
On November 20th I again remember and the same people are not even aware that it is Remembrance Day, but again I make a point of remembering just because I am and they are not.
I remember the friend of a friend who died at her own hand after 3 attempts because the idea of being tarred and feathered again by her Canadian community members was unbearable. I remember the man who sat quietly in his car as the fumes from the engine snuffed out the last vestige of a life he could not identify with and a disgrace he could not bring upon his family that would now not happen. I remember the 10 year-old boy that faced with being tormented daily at school, chose to hang himself from his bedroom window with his belt, they no longer tease him. I remember the 14 year-old boy who took a gun to school and shot a 15 year old classmate in the head. So many to remember.I also remember Gwen, Brandon, Matthew, Marsh, Amanda, and Roman, only a few of the names many people will not remember and many more whose names we never knew.
I am a transwoman and all these people suffered from the effects of Social Transphobia, a mental disorder not on the DSM but something so powerful that people suffering from it drive members of my community to seek to destroy themselves 6 times more often than the general public. 85% of transsexuals think about suicide, 51% attempt it -- and from 9% to 15% succeed. People treat us as mentally ill from as early as two years old and deny us right of passage needed to lead a fulfilling life and feed our families; yes. we have families…
Yet despite all of that, we do live, love, succeed, and even find the strength to help others. We serve in the armed forces, police and fire departments, Government offices and social organizations. Canada’s Barbara Amesbury (Formerly William) created, music while Erica Rutherford (deceased), an artist, actor, filmmaker, farmer, and teacher became a much valued member of the Canadian art scene in PEI. Sara Davis Buechner (BC). world renowned classic pianist teaches at UBC. Kristen Worley and Michelle Dumaresq are Canadian professional cyclists, Nina Arsenault is the self proclaimed most famous Canadian transsexual (actor and ex-sexworker), Enza Anderson, Canadian supermodel, Dana Baitz, musician, Meryn Cadell, Canadian singer. Jamie Lee Hamilton, activist and educator, Michelle Yosef. Canadian linguist. Craig Russell, Canadian female impersonator (deceased), Ruth Bramham, construction industry, and Lucas Silvera, Canadian born singer.
Because we are Trans men and Trans women, we will remember those that have died either by their own or someone else’s hand in the name of hate and Social Transphobia.I invite you to remember with us on November the 20th, International Transgender Remembrance Day and help reduce Social Transphobia.
By Denise Holliday