I get asked this question a lot: “Will you be attending TDoR this year?” I get asked if I’m going to march, or if I want to attend a service or vigil.
My answer is, “absolutely not.”
As a transwoman, I’m all too familiar with the culture of fear. I transitioned by hook & by crook, borderline homeless or totally homeless, squatting, sometimes putting hormones over food & shelter. I’ve been stalked, attacked, beaten, fired for being trans, discriminated against at work, watched my friends get beaten nearly to death in front of me, and am a survivor of abuse & rape.
I hate what TDoR has come to represent: a queer ‘holiday’ for embracing the narrative of fear; fear of violence, fear of death, self-stigmatization. The co-opting of POC trans women of a very-particular-background’s experiences as those of the ENTIRE trans community, regardless of race, class, or whatever. It’s a day to remind us all why we need to be afraid all the time and I think it’s a bunch of bullshit.
The large majority of people on the lists of the dead are NOT middle class white transwomen or men. They’re lower class PoC & PoC sex workers. I find it incredibly dissrespectful when white, middle, & upper middle class transpeople claim the narratives of transwomen of color & sex workers experiencess as their own. I’m sick of seeing Transbros at TDoR co-opting the narrative of transwomen’s experiences, internalizing them, and feeding those narratives back to everyone, then high-fiving each over how radical & edgey they are. I’m sick of being a Transwoman at TDoR and feeling marginalized by all the gender hipsters who’re there to bump up their scene cred.
Seriously, fuck THAT.
It’s not even an issue of solidarity for me. It’s about not buying into the culture of fear which encapsulates our ‘community’. I choose to say no.
No more. No fucking way.
I can’t say that you shouldn’t be afraid, and that your fear is invalid. As transpeople, we ALL face lot of effed up crap, and bad things DO happen to people.
But honestly, take a good look at your life and check yourself: are you white? Are you a man or a woman? If your orientation is queer, how visibly queer are you? how does that affect you where you live? Are you involved in sex work? Do you have passing privilege????? Take a good, long, serious look at all this and then ask yourself:
“How many of these issues immediately affect me? how justified am I in letting this fear rule my life and my community? Are these issues which affect me NOW?”
for a lot of people, that answers will be: none/no/no
So, no, I won’t be attending any TDoR’s, and I won’t be buying into this culture of fear. I’m not going to claim someone elses narrative as my own. I would rather celebrate life, and the lives of my wonderful friends, the love of my glorious partner. I’d rather put effort into working towards bettering myself and my community so that maybe one day we can be free of this fearful narrative once and for all.