Monday, November 22, 2010
Nov 20th: Transgender Day of Remembrance
This past Saturday people from all over Maryland gathered to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance. Events occurred throughout Baltimore city and in fact, events occurred simultaneously all over the world on November 20th.
The International Transgender Day of Remembrance website collects the names and manner of death of gender variant people all over the world who died as a result of violence and/or medical neglect. From November 21 of the previous year until the next November 20th, the website adds to their list. Ever year, at vigils around the world, these names are read, along with information about the person, their activism, their lives and their manner of death.
Many find this important because violence against gender variant people is often ignored or inappropriately reported on in the popular press.
This year there was an unusual addition to the list. In the few years that I have been participating I have never heard of a child's inclusion.
Roy was sixteen months old. While I am pretty sure Roy (a little over a year old) did not self-identify as trans, gender queer, or gender variant, ze was beaten by Roy's mother's boyfriend -Pedro Jones- who was "trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl.” (To read news article: click here.)
I had and still have so many thoughts running through my head. Anger at the man who did this, confusion at how someone could be so invested in the gender conformity of a one-year old. I need, also, to recognize the ways in which I have internalized gender conformity and expect it of others. I can't imagine how that might present itself if I were a parent, trying to prepare a child for life in our culture(s).
I don't have any answers, solutions, brilliant things to say, or really much to say at all. I just feel that we need to have this discussion, we need to recognize how harmful gender conformity is for all of us. Kidz City has had and plans to continue to have discussions and skill shares around supporting gender NON-conformity in all of us, and especially in our childcare. We want to interact with children in a way that supports them, loves them, and helps us all to question various identity 'boxes.'
We HAVE to interrogate how gender conformity (and those who enforce it in overt-violent and subtle ways) is literally killing members of our communities.
Please feel free to post your thoughts and reactions.