On Sunday 20th of November at 6pm outside RHB, you are invited to take part in a vigil silent protest for Trans Day of Remembrance.
Trans Day of Rememberance on the 20th of November every year since 1999 began in response to the murder of Rita Hester an African American Trans Women, who’s life would be remembered and honoured in a candlelit vigil and campaign in which her community locally then internationally through the still embryonic internet, would fight for a dignified media coverage of her death and within this coming together testify to life and the ultimate injustice of it being taken away.
This grim irony of a day of life, of bodies moved toward action through the shadow of it’s opposite remains today: In the last year at least 32 people where killed for being transgender, non-binary and/or gender diverse, we say at least because these horrific crimes are so underreported, particularly in contexts where there exists no means and/or desire to collect any information on them. The vast majority of these people as in previous years where black and Latinx trans-women and of the 4042 worldwide trans and non-binary murders between January 2008 and September 2021 58% were sex workers.
These points are not a necessary addition to but a core part of any understanding of the day. Scholar and activist Sarah Lamble on this point raises a concern with the emphasis on collective mourning risking obscuring the realities of any even seemly progressive events take place within an environment of white supremacy alongside many other axis of privilege including classism, that brings about these horrific violences in the first place. This isn’t to diminish the aim or the importance of TDOR, or to dismiss it as ‘problamatic’, but the opposite, in understanding the complexities we are offered an opportunity as Lamble says to not only ‘remember the dead’ but to ‘transform the practices of the living’.
In the UK as of 2010 41% of trans men and women have reported suffering from hate crime because of their identity this number with this year being the highest on record for transphobic violence will have only gone up! Trans, non-binary and gender diverse people also face wait times before receiving the life preserving and saving healthcare we need, far exceeding the already atrocious times received by everybody in a National Health service in Crisis. This is not too equate trans, non-binary and gender diverse murder with any of the other harms that effect our communities but too see these harms as interconnected in the creation of a environment where are life is not valued and are death not acknowledged.
Though TDOR was a day set up originally specifically in response to transphobic murder we should also consider for example that 82% of transgender people have considered suicide and 40% have attempted it. Whether understood as collective mourning, demanding the conditions in which we can survive and thrive or solidarity with the least privileged and most threatened, Trans Day of Remembrance is first and foremost about honouring the human beings that were lost, not as statistics but as stories, potentials, connections, lives that have been stopped for no reason other than being themselves.
In London in particular as it is across many other cities, TDOR is often marked through a series of vigils facilitated by and through Universities and Student Unions and it in this spirit and in the context of a national political environment which is getting increasingly hostile to trans, non-binary and gender diverse life that we invite the students and staff of Goldsmiths together with the community it’s allies of south-east London and beyond to come together in mourning, yes! but also in solidarity and power at 6pm outside RHB at Sunday 6pm on the 20th November for a candlelit vigil.
We will have speeches, chants and other activities after a candlelit vigil/silent protest around campus and the New Cross and Deptford area before returning and creating a memorial space outside RHB by laying down all that we have brought with us (if you would like to). Candles and flowers will be provided but you are encouraged to bring your own, alongside if you would like banners demonstrating for our lives. You are also encouraged to come beforehand to RHB 143 where we will collectively come together, with refreshments, to make banners, share stories and to collect ourselves on what is a very hard day for us all.
In solidarity and love,
Gammorah(Trans and Non-binary Officer)
Clark, C. et al. (2022) Hate crimes reach record high in England and Wales as anti-trans offences double, GAY TIMES. Available at: https://www.gaytimes.co.uk/life/hate-crimes-reach-record-high-in-england-and-wales-as-anti-trans-offences-double/ (Accessed: November 11, 2022).
LB;, A.A.C.S.L.D.S.S.M.I. (2020) Suicidality among transgender youth: Elucidating the role of Interpersonal Risk Factors, Journal of interpersonal violence. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32345113/ (Accessed: November 11, 2022).
Foundation , H.R.C. Fatal violence against the transgender and gender non-conforming community in 2022, Human Rights Campaign. Human Rights Campaign . Available at: https://www.hrc.org/resources/fatal-violence-against-the-transgender-and-gender-non-conforming-community-in-2022
Lamble, Sarah (2008). "Retelling racialized violence, remaking white innocence: The politics of interlocking oppressions in Transgender Day of Remembrance". Sexuality Research and Social Policy. 5: 24–42.
Smith, Gwendolyn Ann (November 20, 2012). "Transgender Day of Remembrance: Why We Remember". HuffPost. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
Transgender Day of rememberance (no date) Trans Day of Remembrance. Available at: https://tdor.tgeu.org