Transgender Day of Remembrance

Thanks to an Instagram post by Pink Dot, I find out that today is Transgender Day of Remembrance.

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According to the Human Rights Campaign website,

Transgender Day of Remembrance is an opportunity for communities to come together and remember transgender people, gender-variant individuals, and those perceived to be transgender who have been murdered because of hate.

Its Wikipedia page says of its origin:

Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender woman, to memorialize the murder of transgender woman Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts, and it has slowly evolved from the web-based project started by Smith into an international day of action. In 2010, TDoR was observed in over 185 cities throughout more than 20 countries

On that Wikipedia page it is also stated that the Canadian province of Ontario passed the Trans Day of Remembrance Act on 12th December 2017. This officially recognizes TDoR and even requires its Legislative Assembly to hold a moment of silence every year on 20th November.

My respect for Canada just grows and grows. They are truly a progressive and compassionate nation.

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On the Human Rights Campaign website, there is a list of women who were murdered in the past year, Memorializing 2018. There are listed under country, alphabetically, with information like this:

Carolina/Camila Angulo Paredes
Buenos Aires, Argentina
29-Dec-17
shot

or

Unknown Name
Manaus, Brazil
31-Aug-18
stabbed

Shot, Stabbed, Unknown, Stabbed, Decapitated / Dismembered, Beaten, Shot, Shot, Tortured, Unknown, Tortured, Stabbed, Beaten, Stabbed, Shot, Beaten, Throat Cut, Suffocated, Beaten and Hanged, Burned, Run Over by Car, Shot, Shot, Beaten, Strangled / Hanged, Shot, Stabbed, Beaten…

And it goes on and on and on. And that’s just the Memorializing 2018 list.

I can’t help but wonder how many of these sick acts were done in the name of religion, by horribly misguided sick f**ks. Many, I suspect.

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I remember what happened to Sameera Krishnan in Malaysia last year, and looked for her name in the Memorializing 2017 list. And there it was:

Meera
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
23-Feb-17
Victim was shot and stabbed

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The late Sameera Krishnan

Sameera was only 26.

Rest in Peace, brave, beautiful soul.

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I can’t help but think of Aleesha Farhana as well, who passed away on 30th July 2011, also in Malaysia. She was not murdered, but I take this occasion to remember her too. She died of a heart attack, at only 25.

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The late Aleesha Farhana

*al-Fatehah*

According to an article from Malaysian newspaper The Star, Aleesha and even her parents had been subjected to ‘scorn, ridicule, and cruel taunts‘. And like her, ‘an estimated 50,000 transgender people in the country are shunned by society and are often abused.’

To read my post back in 2011 which included something about her, click here.

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Related:

Transgenders in Malaysia (and Iran)

I don’t buy the papers everyday, but on the 4th I was in JB and happened to buy both The Star and the New Straits Times. Coincidentally, both English dailies feature commentaries that very same day about the plight of transgenders in Malaysia.

Mr. M.Veera Pandiya wrote ‘Have a heart for trans folks‘ for The Star, and Ms. Chok Suat Ling wrote ‘Help transgenders, not judge them‘ for the New Straits Times.

The articles were triggered by the death on Saturday 30th July, of Aleesha Farhana, a 25 year old medical assistant who was born male, and who underwent a sex change in Thailand in 2009. Doctors diagnosed one of the causes as cardiogenic shock. People who knew her said she died from the deep depression caused by the failure to get a court order to have her name and gender officially changed.The articles highlighted the terrible and cruel stigma faced by transgenders in Malaysia.

The late Aleesha Farhana. Photo source:thestar.com.my

Here’s a short excerpt from Mr. Pandiya’s article:

Before her death, she and her parents Mak Yah, 50, and Abdul Aziz, 60, were subject to scorn, ridicule and cruel taunts.

On the day she died, the page one headline of one newspaper was: Pondan gagal tukar nama, masuk ICU (Transvestite fails to change name, enters ICU).

Like Aleesha, an estimated 50,000 transgender people in the country are shunned by society and are often abused.

As highlighted in a statement by 17 NGOs and 600 people on Tuesday, they face stigmatisation, violence, mental torture and sexual assault.

The inability of policy makers to understand the transgender community has led to many of them having to leave their families, schools and jobs.

They are also prevented from getting health services, housing, education, employment and other basic rights and are also left without legal recourse to redress injustices and abuses suffered.

I can’t even imagine being in that sort of situation. What a horrible existence. Why must we treat fellow human beings that way? It’s just terrible the vile hatred some people have for others just because they are different.

When it comes to sex change operations, what’s totally unexpected is that in the Muslim world, Iran allows it. Not only that, they even provide subsidies for those who need the financial assistance. Then, the sex change is legally recognised by the state. Official documents like passports are changed accordingly.

Okay, if that wasn’t mind-boggling enough, here’s something that turned my head round and round so fast it almost flew off my neck, so to speak: As of 2008, Iran carries out more sex change operations than any other nation in the world except for Thailand.

Wow, too bad I don’t care for having tits and a vagina. Otherwise I would so go to Iran to do it, instead of Thailand, if only for the novelty factor of having done the sex change in a Muslim country. To try back up the legitimacy of it, maybe? “But, Pa, I got it cut off in Iran!”

“Yet homosexuality is still punishable by death”, said this BBC article. And even though sex change operations are legal there in Iran and comes with official recognition of the new gender, acceptance by society is a different matter altogether.

Back to the story of Aleesha Farhana in Malaysia, an earlier Star article by Farik Zolkepli and Nurhidayah Ramli includes some kind words by Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Malaysia’s Women, Family and Community Development’s Minister, who said that she was saddened her ministry did not have the chance to provide counselling:

“In Mohd Ashraf’s case, he knew our doors were open and that we were there if he needed us.

“We were concerned for him but we could not force him to come to us,” she said after chairing the Wanita Umno supreme council meeting yesterday.

The article also included that about 50 people had held a candlelight vigil for Aleesha outside the Malaysian Bar Council Building. It was organised by Seksualiti Merdeka co-founder Pang Khee Teik, who said they wanted to highlight that Aleesha’s rights for justice had been denied.