Event at U of W honours transgender victims
LEXI MYERS, CONTRIBUTOR
Volunteers from the transgender com- munity read the names of murdered people from the past year for the Trans- gender Day of Remembrance event, hosted by the University of Winnipeg on Nov. 20.
“This must stop. People are dying,” said Shandi Strong, chair of the Winnipeg Transgender Day of Remembrance organizing committee.
“Trans people, according to a news statement made people whose lives matter to their friends, family and communities.”
According to a report compiled by Transgender Europe’s Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide research project team, 271 transgender people were reported murdered between Oct. 1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2015. Many of these reported murders in the project don’t have a name or age attached to the victim. They’re simply reported as “N.N.” or “not reported.”
The lone Canadian on the list, Sumaya Delmar Ysl of Toronto, was found unresponsive by police on Feb. 22, according to a news statement made by the Toronto Police Service on Feb. 24. Although homicide has been ruled out as her cause of death, many activ- ists said they were upset by the lack of details released by Toronto police.
To commemorate the day, the trans- gender flag flew in Memorial Park in front of the Legislature Building. The province said the day is meant “to bring attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community,” according to a Nov. 20 news release. “We’ve come a long way,” said Strong. “We are fortunate to live in a country that’s making change in the right direc- tion.” She did say the fight for human rights is not over.
Manitoba Health Minister Sharon Blady, a supporter of the transgender community, says she has witnessed many people go through the transition.
Blady says she would like to see the Transgender Day of Remembrance continue, but hopes that one day the situation will change.
“Thirty years from now, I don’t ever want to have to read a name,” said Blady. “[I hope] that there will be no names to read. That we will be holding the ceremony to remember the fact that at one time there was a dark day. Celebrate the fact that we don’t need to read those names anymore.”
School trustee Lisa Naylor brought forward a policy for transgender student safety, which was passed at the begin- ning of November. She says staff in the Winnipeg School Division are working daily to support transgender kids.
“My hope is that we will see a reduction in suicide risk and elimination of bullying, exclusion or violence against transgender children in our community,” said Naylor.
Naylor said she believes if children grow up in an atmosphere of accep- tance, they will not grow up afraid.
“My hope is that the next generation of children will grow up less attached to the traditional gender norms,” she said. “Less attached to the idea of gender being static. Less anxious of the genitalia of who’s sharing their bathrooms or playing on their sports teams.”