TDoR and the right to remember


Do you know the feeling of disbelief you get sometimes, when you find yourself in an argument that simply doesn’t make sense? Someone is pushing back against something that shouldn’t be subject to debate, and you really can’t see how or why you’ve ended up in the conversation. Surely there are some things that, even here online where people let their worst side hang out, people know they should simply let be?

Things like taking a day to remember your dead.

Transphobia isn’t a surprise. Dismissal of trans people isn’t a surprise. If people didn’t hate others because of perceiving them as trans, there would be no need for a Trans Day of Remembrance. If everyone saw trans people as fully human and their genders as legitimate as cis people’s, life would be a hell of a lot easier for a hell of a lot of people. I accept- I don’t like it, but I have no choice but to accept it- that many people out there have a lot of misconceptions about trans people. Some through malice, some through ignorance, some for entirely different reasons of their own. We’ve got a hell of a lot of work to do.

But.. questioning people’s right to mourn their dead? I imagine the people I have profound disagreements with. Fundamentalists of all stripes, antivaxxers, people who think irony excuses terrible behaviour. No matter how much I dislike a group of people, I can’t imagine denying their right to grieve their dead, or questioning why they honour and remember them. There are times when we all need to step back, show respect, and leave the arguments for another day.

And yet, today, that was exactly what happened. It started, for me, with Suzanne Moore comparing harassment she received online- after writing a disgusting attack on trans people- to the murder of two hundred and thirty eight people this year. I questioned her on this, and her answer was to wonder if these murders had really happened. To deny that trans people are killed every day, to say that cis people are killed too, and to vaguely allude to links (which she never produced) to stats saying.. something.

On the one hand, I could respond to this. I could say that of course cis people are murdered, every day, and to accuse me of being somehow unaware of that fact is disingenuous at best. We’re killed for all sorts of reasons. Trans people are murdered for all of those reasons too- reasons of race, misogyny, good-old-fashioned dislike and rivalry and fear and random acts of senseless violence- and also simply because they exist and are trans. And these things add up- lists of the dead on Transgender Day of Remembrance are always filled, far too filled, with poor trans women of colour.

I could respond, and I could say all of that.

Another person, responding to Moore, questioned why we should bother having TDOR in the first place. It’s not like it’s going to stop people being killed, he said. It’s not like we have any connection to people in other parts of the world who were murdered. It’s not like we have indisputable proof that all of those murders were purely motivated by the victims’ trans status anyway, he said.

And I could respond to that. I could say that trans people around the world get to take a day to remember their dead. To honour them, as every group of people honours their dead. That trans people have the same right to candles, to silent moments, to people standing holding hands together in the dark of night, to having their names read out loud for all to hear that we all do. That remembering those who have been killed is about trans people, their partners, families and friends, and not about those who kill them. That it is about mourning those we have lost, and those we will never get a chance to know. And it is about standing with people who have to live their lives not knowing whether next year their name will be one of those called out. And- not that it helps, not that it is ever enough- knowing that if it has to be, it will be.

I could respond, and I could say all of that.

Or I could simply say- we could simply say- that some things aren’t about you. You need to stop.

You need to stop now.

All of this.

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6 thoughts on “TDoR and the right to remember

  1. Reblogged this on yetanotherlefty and commented:
    This.

    Today is meant to be the one day of the year that is all about trans people and not about cis people. And every single year, people I know and love find themselves drawn into the same old arguments with cis people who find ways to make even today of all days all about them.

    Leave us be and let us mourn in peace. It’s just one day. Just one. And you won’t even let us have that.

  2. The sad thing is, is they DON’T EVEN HAVE TO BE A PART OF IT if they don’t want to! It’s not like people are holding a gun to their head while saying “MOURN THEM! OR ELSE!” I don’t personally know any Veterans, should I make a big deal out of people mourning on Memorial day or Veteran’s day here in the US? People are sometimes disgusting and ridiculous. I just don’t get it… Sorry you had to deal with that kind of garbage. Just know, they aren’t even worth your time because they can’t even empathize for one day with fellow human beings.

  3. Edited by Aoife: comment deleted.

    • For this, and for the rape apology and misogyny in your other comment today? I’m referring you to my Comment Policy. Section One. As per this, your comments will be deleted and any future comments moderated.

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