More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
Gael Guevara - "What Does the Transgender Day of Remembrance Mean to You?"
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was observed this Thursday, Nov 20. To commemorate the day, GLAAD has been blogging about issues relevant to the Day of Remembrance throughout the week.
We asked transgender people and allies to respond to the question "What does the Transgender Day of Remembrance mean to you?" This response is from Gael Gundin Guevara.
Gael Gundin Guevara was born and raised in Panamá City, Panamá. Gael immigrated to the United States at the age of 19. Gael is an organizer for Transforming Justice, a national coalition that works to address the root causes of imprisonment, criminalization, and poverty in transgender communities.
Transforming Justice brings visibility to the voices and experiences of transgender people to build a all gender inclusive movement to abolish the prison industrial complex.
Gael also serves as the Community Organizing Coordinator and a collective member of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP). SRLP provides free legal services and community organizing support to low-income and people of color who are transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming. Gael also works as a graphic designer.
The Trans Day of Remembrance is a day to commemorate the lives of the many people around the world who have been murdered because of transphobic violence. Too often transgender people face brutal violence and discrimination because of their gender identities and expressions.
Often the number of transgender people who are murdered due to transphobic violence are invisible because statistical reports do not recognize their identities. On the other hand they are often ridiculed as some kind of joke by the mainstream media to sensationalize and sell papers while portraying the lives of transgender people as disposable and insignificant.
They harm the community by stigmatizing transgender people and fueling the negative stereotypes and assumptions people make about who they think transgender people are. They often don't realize the direct connections between systemic transphobic violence and discrimination and the high levels of incarceration, homelessness, joblessness, lack of health care and education in transgender communities.
Instead, they prefer to ignore the problem and pretend we don't exist or don't see us as whole people. The Trans Day of Remembrance is a day to say that the struggle is not over and that we will continue to speak out and bring visibility to this critical problem that our society faces until everyone is able to be respected and valued for the person they are regardless of their gender identity of expression.
We stand with our allies, families and friends to say, No To Transphobia! Let's remember the lives of the ones we've lost and also celebrate the living and appreciate the resilience, strength and power that we have as a community to make a change.