Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20th

Every year, the Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed on November 20th, to honour and remember all transgender people lost to violence. This can include both physical violence, such as brutal physical attacks and murder, as well as psychological violence, which leads to high suicide rates among transgender people. One of the important parts of stopping this is learning about the issue. Laurier Library has provided a list of a few resources on the topic of violence against transgender people.

WARNING: Given the nature of this topic, these resources (and those referenced in these) will of course mention violence, sometimes with graphic descriptions. Please take care of yourself when learning and researching this information.

Although transphobic violence are often prosecuted and condemned in Canada, these hateful acts were not always prosecutable as hate crimes themselves, even when the law provided for this. This article from 2005, from the LGBTQ news source, The Advocate, describes the Gwen Araujo murder case in which the men responsible were convicted only of second-degree murder, not first-degree nor hate crimes, resulting in greatly reduced sentences.

This 1.5 hour documentary from 2012 tells the stories of five asylum seekers coming to Canada to escape homophobic and transphobic violence. We hear about Jennifer, a transgender woman from Lebanon, and the violence she saw from her own family and the stressful process of getting to Canada.

There are three primary sources of data in the United States for rates and types of violence transgender people face: self-report surveys and needs assessments, hot-line call and social service records, and police reports. This 2009 article talks about these sources, the data they provide, and methodological issues they have. It finds that transgender people typically experience violence early and throughout their lives, and have a particularly high risk for experiencing sexual violence.

Violence of any kind takes its toll on the mental health of those who experience it. This 2012 article from the journal Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, studied survey data from transgender people collected in 2005 and 2006. Of course, it confirmed that trans people were at a high risk for physical and sexual violence, but it also found that they were significantly more likely to report suicidal thoughts and attempts, as well as alcohol and illicit substance abuse.

Hate crimes and violence against transgender people certainly has devastating consequences for the direct victims, but also for trans communities in general. Joanna Jamel, author of this book, looks into the history, extent, nature, and victim-offender relationships in this crimes. The work also critiques the assumption of a single transgender community, exploring the diversity of trans identities cross-culturally.

Liked one or more of these resources? Didn’t like something here? Know of something in our collection that should have been on this list? Know of something on this topic that should be in our collection? Please let us know. Laurier Library is your library.

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