Monica Maldonado criticizes the current use of TDOR by the larger trans* community, and provides an eye opening and brutal first-hand account of the discrimination trans women of color face daily.
The truth is, the Trans Day of Remembrance is a day of political grand standing, using the deaths of trans women of colour as a numbers game to buy someone else’s pet project sympathy for votes, dollars, or attention. It’s a day where trans women of colour have greater value dead than we do alive.
We all too often hear that this day is a day where we must not let the deaths of these women be in vain, but this just underscores the transactional nature of these women’s deaths, most of whom fought no war. They lost their lives not in valour, but only as a result of being women in a world filled with gendered violence. They lost their lives because — all too often — our society casts out the disenfranchised and marginalized, no longer calling the huddled masses and tempest-tossed to our communities with heartfelt calls of liberty and virtue.
We should gather to mourn the dead, not conscript them into a battle they never had the privilege to fight while living. It pains me to stand here and remind you that these deaths, of our brothers and sisters and wives and husbands and daughters and sons, that these deaths are senseless tragedies that remain a black mark on society. These deaths are signs of a systemic, institutional, social, economic, and political failure to care for our most vulnerable and marginalized populations. But what may be worse, is the crude politicising of these deaths serves no cause more than that of the same vanity we decry.
The currency of liberty, civil rights, and equality does not reside in death, but in our lives, our histories, our bodies, and our spirit. That currency resides in trans women of colour like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson who inspired their generation and beyond. It’s in Janet Mock and Laverne Cox who let their voice carry, and refuse the tempest to silence them. As well it resides in CeCe McDonald, who who would not be silenced and bravely continues to speak from the chains of injustice. And it resides, perhaps unknowingly, in so many trans women of colour who are still struggling to find their voices in this world.
It is through the stories we tell, the histories we live, the injustices we share, and the people we inspire that we move towards a greater and more equal society where no person fears a full bladder, where no person is turned away from a home, a family, or a job; Where no person is denied the medicine, justice or dignity they deserve because of who they are, how they dress, or who and how they love. Without living voices; gendered violence, racial injustice, the war on body autonomy and medical independence, and the prison industrial complex stand to go unchecked.
We must be honest with ourselves: the Trans Day of Remembrance is not what it should be. Just as being trans in this world is not what it should be.
Read the rest at the link.
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