November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance. While we wish there didn’t need to be a day dedicated to the loss of thousands of wonderful people, it is the unfortunate reality of a world in which many people struggle to accept that gender is not binary. For this reason, existing as a person who does not conform to societal standards and expectations can be challenging and even dangerous. This day honors those whose lives have been lost due to the fear and hate that cause violence against those who identify as or are perceived to be, transgender.
In remembering the lives of transgender people who have been murdered, we are reminded again of the disparities between people of different races, ethnicities, body shapes/sizes, external presentation and socioeconomic statuses. We are reminded that marginalized populations are at higher risk for developing mental health conditions and for experiencing bullying, discrimination and even violence. Attempts at trans-erasure (whether that be through physical violence, retraction of basic human rights and/or denial that the trans community exists) remind[ us that we need to be more mindful of the presence of diversity in our world – and of the unique difficulties that people who embody a minority identity must often endure.
While we listen to the names of lives lost too soon – a list that gets longer every year – we are reminded of the urgency with which we work to provide safer spaces that nurture equity, inclusion, acceptance and compassion for people who may be different than ourselves. Living is not a privilege to be afforded to those who fit within a neat little box. For every day that we don’t come together, embrace our differences and fight for equality, we risk losing more of our diversity – the very thing that has historically made our communities dynamic and strong.
During this time when relationships and unity are more important than ever, we must remember just what is at stake if we ignore our differences. So today, and every day hereafter, we encourage you to refresh your trans-ally skills by reading, listening, wearing buttons or patches that communicate support for transgender people, speaking up when you hear anti-trans rhetoric (if you feel safe enough to do so), voting for legislation that supports and recognizes transgender people, introducing yourself with pronouns, starting inclusive clubs at school, and/or asking for on-the-job training.
It’s time we all commit to doing something.
Want more ways to get involved in #TDOR? Visit https://www.glaad.org/tdor to find local vigils, events and/or ways to advocate for transgender visibility.
Christine Lang, MSW, M.Div. (She, Her, Hers) or (He, Him, His), is an adolescent clinician in the partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs in Amherst, providing individual, family and group counseling for adolescents and families with eating disorders. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and English from Clark University, a master’s of divinity from Pacific School of Religion, and a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Simmons College. Christine is particularly interested in working at the intersection of trauma and addiction, and how that connects to identities of gender, sexuality and religion/spirituality. She utilizes Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy in her relational, strengths-based and trauma-informed approach. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and writing poetry, taking pictures outside and spending time with friends and family.