By SWRJ Advisory Council member Anita R. Gooding, MSW, LSW
Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014
The annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is occurring on November 20, 2014. The day is an opportunity to pause and remember trans* persons who were killed because of their identity. TDOR is also a time for advocacy and awareness of issues faced by those in the trans* community. However, responsibility for change and awareness needs to fall on everyone’s shoulders.
In the Philadelphia area alone I have heard three stories of individuals murdered because they were trans* or Gender Non-Conforming. I also recently learned of a 17-year-old trans* male who committed suicide because of stigma, depression, and lack of support. National statistics on trans* violence are staggering. A 2013 report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that trans* folks were one of the communities most impacted by violence. Their research shows:
Transgender people were:
- 3.32 times as likely to experience police violence as compared to cisgender survivors and victims.
- 2.46 times as likely to experience physical violence by the police compared to cisgender survivors and victims.
Transgender people of color were:
- 2.59 times as likely to experience police violence compared to white cisgender survivors and victims.
- 2.37 times as likely to experience discrimination compared to white cisgender survivors and victims.
Transgender women were:
- 2.90 times as likely to experience police violence as compared to survivors and victims who were not transgender women.
- 2.71 times as likely to experience physical violence by the police as compared to survivors and victims who were not transgender women.
- 2.14 times as likely to experience discrimination as compared to survivors and victims who were not transgender women.
As social workers we are tasked with understanding social diversity, respecting colleagues and consumers, promoting non-discrimination, and encouraging social and political action. The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a reminder that there is a lot of work that needs to be done to promote acceptance of all identities. Social workers can provide clinical support for those coming to terms with their gender identity, and resources to friends and family members of trans* folks. Most important, social workers can create safe, non-judgmental spaces that allow for judgment free exploration of self.
If you would like to learn more about the Transgender Day of Remembrance or participate in a vigil, please visit www.tdor.info.
*Never seen the asterisk before? Check out this website to learn more.