Unpopular Opinion: Why so angry about Transgender Day of Remembrance?


Published November 20, 2019 at 5:57 pm


Nothing brings out the fury of a straight, white, cisgender male quite like a day honouring anyone but a straight, white, cisgender male.

And as a straight, white, cisgender male, myself, I feel qualified to speak on the matter.

Since 1999, Nov. 20 has been earmarked as Transgender Day of Remembrance.

So, naturally, this has been a running theme on social media today:

Cries for a day to recognize straight, white, cisgender males is the equivalent of getting upset that the fire department is paying more attention to your neighbour as their house is burning down.

“Still waiting for the fire department to give equal attention to houses that aren’t on fire! #equality”

Besides, be careful what you wish for. They tried a ‘straight pride parade’ this year and to barely anyone’s surprise, the organizers of the inaugural parade in Boston have ties to white nationalism. To absolutely no one’s surprise, many of the ‘straight pride’ events across the United States attracted 2 to 4 people.

According to GLADD, “Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester’s death and began an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.”

For the “why do they need their own day?!” crowd: Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide released its annual report that sources local and national news stories covering the deaths and murders of trans and gender-diverse people. The findings in the reports are gruesome; detailing homicides, burning, hangings, and even lynching.

There’s even a Wikipedia page dedicated to listing reported murders of transgender people and here in super tolerant Canada, transgender hate crimes are on the rise.

People’s attitudes towards the trans community remain hostile, likely out of willful ignorance and an internal mandate to tow a particular political ideology. The reality is, even for those considered to be allies to the trans community, empathy is nearly impossible. Having a gender identity or gender expression that differs from your sex assigned at birth is difficult for most to wrap their head around–making the challenges faced by trans individuals all the more difficult.

Coinciding with Transgender Day of Remembrance, researchers at the University of Washington released the findings of the largest ever study of socially-transitioned transgender children in the world and found that gender identity and gender-typed preferences develop and act-out the same way in both cisgender and transgender children, even those who recently transitioned.

That means cis children and trans children experience gender in the same way, according to the study.

“The most surprising finding is, overall, just how similar transgender and cisgender kids looked,” study co-author Selin Gülgöz, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington, told Newsweek. “What this means is that, if I saw the data of any random participant, I would not be able to tell if that child is transgender or cisgender.”

“Within both transgender and cisgender children, we find a wide range in the strength of their identity and preferences. For example, we had some ‘tomboy’ transgender girls in the study, just as we had ‘tomboy’ cisgender girls.”

You can drag your knuckles all you want but the trans rights movement continues to grow as their experiences become more societally legitimized and more studies reveal that you can’t “raise a kid to be trans”.

As for the anger at Transgender Day of Remembrance, try refocusing that anger on things that actually impact your everyday life; like an old bigoted hockey analyst being fired.

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