My Thoughts this Transgender Day of Remembrance

By Sumiko Saulson (Mauskaveli)

As a person who falls under the trans umbrella, when speaking on Trans Lives Matter, which is certainly a subject when speaking on Trans Day of Remembrance, who is also African-American, I am very deeply aware of the fact that every year on trans day of remembrance the vast majority of the names on the list are African-American Transwomen, specifically dark-skinned Black Trans women. This year once African American and Latina Transwomen made up most of the list of more than 400 trans and gender noncomforming people murdered since TDoR 2020.

The 2021 List of Names for TDoR

I feel very sad about what is going on with Dave Chappelle as an African-American. Dave Chappelle punches down on trans people, and that punching down heavily effects African-American trans people because he is a respected figure in the African-American Community who is using his personal power to make a group of people who are in a lot of danger, specifically black Trans women since that is the group of people that he generally directly attacks in his comedy routines, even more at risk than they already are.

Dave Chappelle use the fact that Daphne Dorman, a local trans woman who was a comedian, laugh at his comedy routine, to defend himself and defend that his comments were okay because they didn’t offend all trans people. He put Daphne in and emotionally and psychologically dangerous position in order to defend his own personal privilege. Daphne later committed suicide. He has not apologized, but has actually used this as part of his fodder for his comedy routine. 

A person in a position of privilege who claims to be an ally should be using the fact that any people in that group of marginalized or oppressed people agree with them, in order to protect themselves.  An ally by definition should be protecting the marginalized persons. The ally should not be using the voice of the marginalized to protect himself, if he is trying to be a good ally.

As an African-American, particularly as an African American who is light skinned and biracial. As I have over the course of my life many times had people in my Social Circles try to get me to be their “Black Friend” who tells them that what they’re saying and doing is okay. Not that long ago, I had my friend who is white and wears  dreadlocks try to get me to defend that it was okay for them to wear dreadlocks.

I told them that while I personally was not offended by them wearing dreadlocks, I did not wish for them to use me as their “Black Friend” to defend their decision and to try to argue with other people that are Black about their feelings about it. Nonetheless, my friend did exactly that, which I found personally very hurtful.

If people don’t like it, they don’t like it. Finding one or two people who are a minority who do like it is not going to change the fact that there are a bunch of people who do not like it. I think that it is important to be concerned about the people who don’t like it.That’s my personal feeling. Your mileage might vary.

Local Events for Trans Day of Remembrance

Fluid CO-OP
11/20/21 2pm- 5pm
332 Golden Gate Ave SF
Fluid Cooperative Cafe was formed with a vision, one that recognizes the people who are in the best position to nurture, uplift, and advance transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming communities are the community members themselves. While we are centering the trans community, allies are encouraged to join us in supporting our mission.

TDoRSF – Virtual Event
11/20/21 6pm-7:30pm
Facebook Live
We hope you will join us on November 20th to honor those we have lost, and build momentum to end the violence against trans (transgender) and GNC (Gender Non-Conforming) communities. TDoR specifically addresses the deaths of trans and GNC folks. Despite increased visibility, trans people continue to be murdered in unprecedented numbers, and trans women of color are bearing the brunt of it.

Where to Donate

Transgender Law Center
Transgender Law Center changes law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.Transgender Law Center (TLC) is the largest national trans-led organization advocating for a world in which all people are free to define themselves and their futures. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation.

Center Link
CenterLink was founded in 1994 as a member-based coalition to support the development of strong, sustainable, LGBTQ community centers. A fundamental goal of CenterLink’s work is to strengthen, support, and connect LGBTQ community centers, and to help build the capacity of these centers to address the social, cultural, health, and political advocacy needs of LGBTQ community members across the country. CenterLink plays a vital role in addressing the challenges centers face by helping them to improve their organizational and service delivery capacity, access public resources, and engage their regional communities in grassroots social justice movements.

Oakland LGBTQ Center
The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center is dedicated to enhancing and sustaining the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals, our families and allies, by providing educational, social, and health related activities, programs and services.

My partner Emily Flummox(Staci_Everheart)’s thoughts on TDoR

I’ve commemorated prolly >75% of the TDoRs since they were started in 1999, publicly or privately. I remember the story of the youngest name ever on the list ~ a 2-month-old Native American child from the Northeastern US ~ & the year that Transgender Europe improved data collection. That year, what had been 30min of sadness turned into an hour of despair.

The numbers have only grown since. Many commemorations no longer read the stories of the dead, just their names, because the list has gotten too long. 375 names are on the 2021 list, the longest list yet (7% more than last year which was 6% more than the year before). That number may not sound like much to you, but consider that while there may be 8bil people, this represents a number of smaller divisions:

* trans people are about as common as redheads, so that brings the number down immediately *

We don’t have perfect knowledge of all deaths. This year, we have our first records from Greece, Kazakhstan, & Malawi * when people kill us, they tend to not only kill us but to mutilate us so that we cannot be recognized.

And then the police, media, even our families COOPERATE with our murderers by deadnaming us, misgendering us, & refusing to identify us as trans * finally, remember that some of those killed because they were trans may have been so closeted that we simply cannot know that they should be on this list. Those are the ones that break my heart the most.

96% of those murdered globally were trans women or transfeminine

58% were known sex workers

Murders in the USA doubled from last year, with PoC making up 89% of the 53

43% of the European murders were migrants

70% of all the murders registered happened in Central & South America (33% in Brazil)

36% took place on the street & 24% in their own home

Average age of those murdered is 30 years old, the youngest being 13 years old & the oldest 68 years old

~ by Sumiko Saulson on November 20, 2021.

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