TDoR 2015

Candlelight VigilHey folks. As many of you already know, today is the annual transgender day of remembrance in which we honor those who have fallen in the past year. I won’t say much on the subject, because I’ve already said it all. I wish this day didn’t have to exist, I look forward to the year when there are no names, etc. etc.

What I do want to discuss is something of a related note. As I mentioned, I’ve been watching a lot of Arrow and Flash recently, and at the start of season 3 of Arrow, during either the first or second episode, Ollie has a moment where he’s trying to tell Felicity what the five years on the island did to him. It goes something along the lines of “I learned not to trust anymore, and when you can’t trust, you don’t see people. You just see threats. Or targets.”

This stood out to me as it’s an apt description of what PTSD does to you. And while most don’t have the kinds of lived experiences that I have, many trans people have some form of PTSD, simply because in order to survive in this world, we have to think in that sort of way. Any individual COULD be a threat. Especially with the rise of murders brought about by the rise of visibility. To paraphrase from Dr. Van Helsing discussing Dracula in the classic Bela Lugosi film, the trans person’s greatest strength (historically) is that people do not believe in them.

What this means is that in the past, we could walk around and people would write off a guy being shorter, or a woman having large hands, or whatever other subtle physical hints there might be. But now, with trans people everywhere in the media and the news, people are less likely to just gloss over those things, examining harder. Add to this the fact that there’s been an increase in non-binary presentation (such as the individual I’ve seen around campus a number of times who wears either a skirt or a dress while rocking a full beard) and the bigots out there are suddenly more aware that we exist.

This is why the numbers of murders have been increasing dramatically the past few years, and why here in the States alone, we’ve nearly doubled last year’s numbers. Remember that nearly everything is a double edged sword, and the very tools we use for activism can turn around and hurt us as well. Stay safe out there, readers.

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