Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney

Sometimes cluelessness is as offensive as malice

Gakked from lisaquestions and Questioning Transphobia Lisa's comments on the GLSEN's decision to create a Transgender Day of Action to run the day after the Transgender Day of Remembrance'

" Every year, on November 20, many people - cis people as well as trans people - observe the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Trans people are 16 times more likely to be murdered than the general population, and 1-2 trans people are murdered every month. So far, the TDOR website lists 18 names:

Kellie Telesford, Brian McGlothlin, Gabriela Alejandra Albornoz, Patrick Murphy, Adolphus Simmons, Phaedra, Ashley Sweeney, Sanesha Stewart, Lawrence King, Simmie Williams Jr., Luna, Lloyd Nixon, Felicia Melton-Smyth, Silvana Berisha, Ebony Whitaker, Rosa Pazos, Angie Zapata, and Jaylynn L. Namauu.

Names not yet added to the list include Ruby Molina and Nikki Williams.

For 10 years, our community has gathered to remember our dead on November 20th.

So, enter GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, proposing TransAction!,

TransAction! - November 21, 2008

GLSEN is proud to be sponsoring a new national day of action: TransAction! This is a day for action, a day for education, celebration, and a day for people who do not identify as transgender to become an ally and stand up for the rights of individuals who have been the victims of harassment, bullying and name-calling because of their gender identity and/or gender expression.

Now, I think suggesting a day like this is by itself not a bad thing, but doing it the day after the Day of Remembrance is in incredibly poor taste, and smacks of allies speaking for trans people. I could be wrong, and trans people might be involved in planning/proposing this day… but even so, November 21st is the wrong day. Further, on Washington State’s GLSEN page,


11/21/2008, TransAction (Formerly Trans Day of Remembrance)

People who want to become an ally and stand up for the rights of trans people who have been the victims of harassment, bullying, and name-calling because of their gender identity and/or expression shouldn’t be doing this. Trans people have been doing the Day of Remembrance for 10 years. Don’t claim to replace the TDOR. Don’t put your day of celebration on the day after DOR. This isn’t solidarity, it’s appropriation. It’s walking all over what trans people are already doing.

Contact info: or 212-727-0135.

I have written my own letter to GLSEN.

I would just like to add my voice to all of those protesting your decision to make your day of action on Transgender issues so close to the Transgender Day of Remembrance that a number of clueless organizations are seeing it as a replacement for that day. At the very least, you should have been sensitive enough to see that mistake coming...

The Trans Day of Remembrance is valuable and needs protecting and promoting. It is an institution created by trans people for trans people, and has been one of the things which has brought the trans community together over the last few years. Throughout the world, trans people are disproportionately the victims of violence and it is important to memorialize the fact; LGBT organizations never took a lead on that and so we have done it for ourselves.

Given the long-standing exclusion and demeaning of trans people by official LGBT groups, it is inappropriate for such groups now to colonize our institutions - however admirable your intentions were, when you decided to create the day of action, you should have done so in a way that was sensitive to the concerns of trans people. We are not a victim group grateful for your patronizign bounty, but equal partners in an LGBT movement that should be built around mutual respect.

Yours in disappointment

Roz Kaveney
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