International Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today, the 20th of November, is a worldwide day to remember transgender people who have been murdered. The murders of these people were caused by transphobia, an irrational hatred toward one’s gender identity and gender expression. This is also a day of awareness-raising regarding this group of people, increasing the degree of acceptance of diversity and mutual respect regardless of gender identity or expression.

A few days ago, Trans Respect Versus Transphobia published a press release regarding this day, publishing alarming numbers of murders of trans people. According to the data, there have been 238 murders in the last 12 months, which on average is 1-2 murders every other day! The total results, since January 2008, show that 1374 murders have been committed against trans people in 60 different countries, but this only considers cases in which it was clear that the victim was transgender. We may conclude that the actual number is higher, because there are still many trans people who must hide their gender identity in order to be safer. This happens everywhere in the world.

This day is being commemorated since 1998 when transgender graphic designer, columnist and activist Gwedolyn Ann Smith memorized the murder of Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts. Since then, it has been commemorated each day on the same date, and it has grown into a worldwide action. It is being marked in more than 20 countries throughout the world.

In the Republic of Macedonia there is no official data on murders against transgender people, however, there are several cases of physical and psychological torture toward this group of people. Apart from this, we also need to emphasize the lack of access to adequate health services which are fundamental to the health of these people. Our society still lacks sufficient knowledge on the trans topic, which creates prejudices and fear. We must not allow transphobia to produce such events! On the contrary, all of us together should increase the level of tolerance, mutual respect, and leave no room for this marginalized group to be even more oppressed by discrimination, prejudices, stereotypes, non-acceptance and violence. Together against violence and especially against murder! Trans people are equal citizens.

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