Rebecca Juro

At The End Of The Day Of Remembrance

Filed By Rebecca Juro | November 20, 2007 11:31 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics, Politics, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: ENDA, gender, hate crimes against LGBT people, LGBT, politics, queer, transgender

I needed to wait.

When you write a lot, you know that there are times when you know you have no business behind a keyboard, or at the very least, no business writing on certain topics. I'm usually pretty versatile in that way, but I do have my limitations. I reached and exceeded one of those today, and it put me in a frame of mind that was not conducive to writing about the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

So, I waited, and now, I'm ready.

It's late evening. The sky is dark, the air is cold, and a chilly breeze blows steadily outside my window. I think about the lives lost to hate violence and I think about reasons, cause and effect. It occurs to me that the connection every one should be but no one seems to be making between employment rights and hate crimes should be obvious, especially in the case of transpeople.

The connection, of course, is poverty. So many of these murders happen in economically-depressed areas because transpeople, and transwomen especially, not only have difficulty finding work in the first place, but have no legal protections against discrimination in most states. As a result, our annual incomes are often so low than many of us find ourselves barely surviving. When your financial tank is that low, that's when you can find yourself in living and employment situations that are less than safe. While many of us may pass well enough to avoid problems, there's a significant number who can't, transwomen who will be targets everywhere they go. They are forced into dangerous living and working situations by the extremely limited employment opportunities often available to unskilled and non-degreed minority workers in general, and adding anti-transgender bias into the mix, the unemployment rate for transpeople is estimated to be far higher than for members of other, gender-normative minorities.

The fight for employment rights is the fight to prevent hate crimes. It is simply different fronts of the same war. In the end, the Matthew Shepard Act and the Employment Rights Non-Discrimination Act seek to help achieve the very same thing: to make a better life and future for LGBT people.

It's a cycle that needs positive action at both ends in order to break it.

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Thank you Rebecca
that was well well done and straight from the heart.

Take care and have a happy holiday season.

Susan Robins

Thank you, Rebecca, for a heartfelt and poignant posting on this very special day of Remembrance. It is a moving reminder of the common fight we all have for basic human rights and dignity.

Great post.

Good post, Becky. Thanks for helping me to understand better.

Janis Walters | November 21, 2007 10:38 AM

Becky, I always enjoy your comments on here and on your blog, but today's was especially touching. As a trans woman I have encountered discrimination in the workplace several times and have spent long periods of time unemployed. I have also been the victim of hate and violence in the workplace as well as in the community. We who are the T in LGBT are the ones in greatest need of assistance from inclusive Hate Crimes legislation and an all-inclusive ENDA. Yet we are consistently excluded by transphobic legislators and trampled on and lied to by HRC. Yes, the cycle must be broken before more of us end up as names to be read by candlelight at TDOR vigils.

Good point, Becky. Violence and money are deeply intertwined in our society. We should be working on both fronts to improve people's lives, and to try to make the lives of those without money less violent than it often is.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 21, 2007 6:02 PM

Rebecca, I think the denial of a person’s livelihood due to any reason, but especially bigotry and discrimination, IS violence, pure and simple. And while not a fist, knife, or bullet, it can certainly kill. True, it doesn’t fall under the rubric of a hate crime by definition, but it’s damned close to one in my book.

Very good post.

I just went to the Phila event on the 20th and made sure i mentioned the gay black man ** Alphy ** who stood up for a black transsexual woman and gave his life to save hers. Back in 1999 I stood there with candles for days at the corner of 12th and locust street after the terrible event until the people had a funeral for him at william way.

God Bless you Alphy you stood for all humanity.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | November 25, 2007 6:32 PM

Becky, Dr. King would've agreed with you. I know these are hard times but you're standing on the right side with history solidly under your feet. May it prove a comfort to you.