For decades there has been a fight for Transgender people to have the same equal rights as everyone else, and even though progress has been made Transgender people still face a lot of prejudice.
According to the latest Home Office statistics 4,355 Hate Crimes were targeted against Transgender people, an increase of 56% from the previous year, and this is just cases which have been reported.
Like many things we see here at SARI, the rise in Transgender Hate Crime could be due to more awareness, but also because Trans issues have been more widely spoken about and when this happens we see an increase in incidents.
In the last couple of years there has been overt and subtle attacks on Transgender people. This ranges from physical attacks to political attacks, such as Trans people being excluded from the conversion therapy ban and more recently the public backlash against the Drag Queen Story Hour visiting libraries around the UK.
Sadly, the stark reality is that this prejudice against Trans people can ultimately lead to people’s death and it is because of this we mark the Trans Day of Remembrance.
Each year on November 20, at the end of Transgender Awareness Week, the nation marks the day to remember those members of the Trans community whose lives have been lost. The day was set up initially in 1999 to remember Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester’s death, and began an important tradition.
Now, the day acts both as a day of remembrance and also to amplify the voices of Transgender people and the struggles they have to face in their day-to-day lives. It is about learning about the violence affecting the Transgender community and what can be done to further support this marginalised group.
At SARI, we know all too well how Transphobia can impact on a person’s life and how this can present itself as a Hate Crime.
Even though Transphobia does exist there is work being done to improve the lives of Transgender people and making sure they have access to all the same services and rights as everyone else. We know in Avon & Somerset there is a fantastic LGBTQ+ community who play host to a range on events and nights which celebrate Trans rights. And we are also lucky to have Trans Pride South West in our region who are a small but dedicated team of trans / non-binary people, working together with the LGBTQ+ community to bring events, talks, socials and resources in the south west.
Here at SARI, as well as supporting people who have been victims of Transphobic hate, we have been working with Health & Wellbeing and Medical professionals to produce a best practice guidance for people in the medical profession to how best support Trans people when accessing services.
We believe that Transphobia has no place in our society, and that people should feel free and safe to explore their gender identity without fear of ridicule, discrimination or violence.
In Bristol people are invited to mark Trans Day of Remembrance with a vigil being held on College Green from 6pm on November 20th.