Nov 20, 2008

remembering the dead

This year is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yes that's human rights which means rights for all humans. It does not mean rights for some.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Everyone has the right to security of person. Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Trans people are murdered because of other people's hate, other people's issues, other people's discrimination, other people's fear. This is a serious violation of trans peoples' human rights. Murderers are murderers. Hate crimes are hate crimes. Such violations of human rights should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

You should read these three posts in their entirety. I've just posted excerpts.

Queen Emily how to mourn
And yes, today we remember those of us still living--our fear, the fear that lives at the heart of every trans person, that someone will know that we are trans, and will kill us for it. Today we remember all the other times we murmured "oh fuck" as we read the news. Today we discover the deaths we missed, because we couldn't bear hearing about them anymore for awhile, even though we must. We must.

Sometimes we forget ourselves, you know. Sometimes we think that if we look like cissexuals, pass like them (are passed like them), that they must accept us. And we forget that it is only the fact that they have assumed we have the same gender history as them that keeps them from hating us.

We do not live fake lives. We do not live as nicknames, as aka. We live hard, we love hard--we have to. And we deserve to be mourned.

Little Light the quick and the dead

The Day of Remembrance is ours, and it is sacred. It is the one day we set aside to honor those in our community, overwhelmingly poor trans women of color, who were killed due to bigotry and hatred. It is a single day in the year where we make certain that the names of the murdered are heard and held up, so we can all remember that these people mattered, were real, were loved, and are missed. It's a day to gather the community together and call attention to the violence directed against us and the caring we have for each other. It came from us. It was built by us. It was never supposed to be flashy or glitzy. It is a solemn mourning for the dead, a place to hold hands, and a promise to those who violence took away from us that we who are still living will hold together, take care of each other, and push forward together into a world where that violence is only a painful memory.

We can do better than this, for our sacred dead. We can do better for ourselves. We need better than this.

Zan Remember

I think of the families of those who have been killed. I think of them and I cry, because how do you cope with the knowledge that the world thinks it's OK to kill someone you love? How do you live with the knowledge that your neighbors and co-workers and the people who sit beside you every day on the way to work think that your daughter deserved to die? How do you ever have faith in anything, anyone again? How does the world ever make sense again?

It's far too easy for those who are not intimately involved to forget. Because it's too horrible to remember. It's too horrible to let yourself realize that yes, human life is so very very cheap to so many people. It's too horrible to let yourself realize that maybe YOU contribute to that attitude. But we cannot forget. We let these killings go unchallenged, unpunished -- a slap on the wrist is not a punishment. Finding a killer not-guilty because they freaked out over finding out their girlfriend had a penis is not justice. It's not acceptable. Full stop.

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