Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Do you know a trans person murdered because of their gender identity?

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | November 20, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: hate crimes against LGBT people, murder, Transgender Day of Remembrance

I have been struggling to find words appropriate to this Transgender Day of Remembrance.

I can find no fitting words of my own. I am too far from the days when I wanted to die, when people stopped to point and laugh at me on the street, when the need for human companionship led me down dangerous streets, when I felt the imminence of violence in the air. Being trans often means confronting others with their own difference, their own failure to conform, and their own self-loathing. The words of Sandy Stone come to mind, from her essay "My Words To Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix," where she discussed the fear and loathing that many gays and lesbians have for transsexuals:

Hearken unto me, fellow creatures....I offer you this warning: the Nature you bedevil me with is a lie. Do not trust it to protect you from what I represent, for it is a fabrication that cloaks the groundlessness of the privilege you seek to maintain for yourself at my expense. You are as constructed as me; the same anarchic Womb has birthed us both. I call upon you to investigate your nature as I have been compelled to confront mine. I challenge you to risk abjection and flourish as well as have I. Heed my words, and you may well discover the seams and sutures in yourself.

Following in Bil's footsteps, I think it better to let readers talk.

Do you know a trans person murdered because of their gender identity? Do you know someone who has suffered violence because of being trans, from others or from their own hands? Have ever looked at a trans person, perhaps even in the mirror, and felt loathing? Leave a comment about it here. The murderers we hear about are only the ones who got caught, but the culture of hate and violence surrounds us all. Let us talk of the causes, not only of the symptoms - and let's memorialize our dead.


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Tomasz of Lód? | November 20, 2010 4:33 PM

I'm afraid . . .

The skill of my hands, or is it the skill of my heart, has proved insufficient to simultaneously tear down one wall so carefully and furtively built after . . . what is it now, three decades . . . to build yet another. The life I build is subject to forces over which even the most carefully crafted artifice has no enduring power. What I am bears little resemblance to what society is prepared to accept much less to indulge. Were they able to do so would preclude the routine and casual disparagement that they, as petty creatures, routinely indulge in and we routinely endure to assuage our souls against the degree to which each of us is so uniquely and terribly alone?

Like Mary Shelley’s “monster,” will I wander ever northward to that intractable wasteland at the end to be found alone, broken and weeping over the vestige of that which created me, afraid of how fall I've fallen and how far I've yet to fall.

Ive known two transgendered people that have committed suicide in a way I see them as society assisted suicides.Society didn't give them a reason to keep living if anything society gave them a reason to consider suicide.I personally have suffered physical and mental abuse for being TS.Around two years ago I moved to Des Moines and I joined a group for transgendered.At that time I had been on doctor prescribed hormones for a year and was planning on transitioning.I was only able to attend a couple meetings then I fell on hard times and wound up in a homeless shelter.No one took the time to sit me down and tell me my rights as a transsexual in Iowa.I was turned down at one homeless shelter and another let me in.I am a veteran and was referred to the veterans rep at the shelter.I explained to him that I am TS and that I was on hormones and identified as female although I hadn't transitioned yet.I explained to him that because I was on hormones I had breast growth and requested to be able to shower in private.I was denied and had to shower in an open mens shower area.I would wait until as late as possible to go in so that I would have privacy fearing that I would be assaulted.I continually let the VA rep no that I was in constant fear of being found out and assaulted.Many times I was denied access to a shower simply because I waited till to late or the staff wouldn't allow me to for no good reason.The official VA rep tried to arrange for me to enter a womens veteran shelter with me transitioning along the way but without having had SRS I was denied into all but one program in Milwaukee Wisconsin.Only after I volunteered to enter a male veterans program at the shelter was I allowed to shower in private.I didn't last long in the program but I was able to enroll in college while I was there.Within two weeks of leaving the shelter I was in my own apartment and in school.If my rights had been explained to me I could have and would have transitioned before entering the shelter. They would have had to allow me access to the womens dorm and the womens restroom facilities.I only found this out last Wednesday when another TS woman handed me a brochure explaining Iowa's law pertaining to gender identity.Because I didn't know my rights and wasn't told my rights I suffered unnecessarily both mentally and in having my transition delayed. I have had suicidal thoughts but I fight them off.Tonight I am disappointed because here in Des Moines Iowa there were no planned observances for the Transgender Day of Remembrance.Like many in this community I am busy trying to simply survive but if I had known that there were no plans early enough I would have tried to arrange something.Hopefully someone in Iowa city had the forethought to arrange a TDOR event.

Strangely enough, I don't know a trans person personally who's committed suicide or been murdered. I've reported on way too many, but there's never been a personal connection.

I'd love to see this thread develop into a similar thread as my post. While it was "depressing" to some it was also incredibly moving & powerful

I have known 4 trans people who have taken their lives and one who had it taken from her. The TDOR day I had to read her name was one of the hardest I had to endure. Time does not heel all wounds, because these are the ones that cannot heel. You just move forward, praying there will not be more. Praying there will not be more.

Ms Jillian, Mr Bil, I have known far too many, so many to suicide, so many to drug overdose, so many to violence, so many to disease, so many over 33 years. I buried, either in person or by proxy, each and everyone of these women and men. TDOR is one of the hardest days and times for me, as I KNOW but for the grace of my Deity that could have been me. And it almost was on more than one occasion. I have been snatched off the street in my younger days, and you can guess what for. I have been beaten badly enough to be hospitalized. I have been assaulted more times than I'd care to count. Verbally attacked. Ranted and railed at. I'm still here. I've attempted suicide many times, though now I'm grateful for my failure to succeed. Not long ago I made a promise to keep working to end this spree of the haters. Last year, at my last suicide attempt, I promised two lovely cis-gendered women I'd stay in this crazed world because "you are needed by too many people, who need the love and heart you bring". Their words, not mine. Now I put the energy of destruction to constructive purpose. And I cry, thinking I have failed another, when I hear about our losses, and see the lost in print and broadcast. And I hate failure. We must work together to end the pain our sisters and brothers suffer through, for no one woman or man can do it alone.

I know of a few assaults on friends who are Trans, none of which resulted in hospitalization thankfully. None to me personally but I seldom move in areas where I would be at risk really. I am somewhat happy to report I do not personally know someone who was trans that was murdered. With all this said, about every one of us who is Trans can look at the suicide question and say, but for the grace of God or providence, or whatever, go I. Indeed it is almost a diagnostic requirement for being labeled as trans by the psychological community. This in and of it's self should call into question further as to the way our society treats someone who is Transgendered. I find myself also wondering about those people in my past that I did not know by much more than just their name. You know those people you went to school with or worked with that one day you hear they ended their own lives. Those without any word left as to the what or why they felt they had no other choice. Two come to mind for me. I wonder if either of those were because they could not see a way in which to cope with the fact they were Gay or Transgendered...