Sometimes, as a member of one minority group (in my case, autistics), it’s easy to forget about others. It’s easy to think that your own group faces the worst suffering or abuse. Suffering and abuse isn’t like that – there’s a lot of horror in the world.
I believe in justice for all, not just my people (autistics). So I want to highlight something that is happening this week.
It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all people.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Tuesday, Nov 20th, is Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s an annual event where people take a few minutes out of their day and remember that people have been killed for living authentic lives as the gender that they are rather than the gender that some would have them live.
One way you can show support for people is to attend a public remembrance event. See http://www.transgenderdor.org/ to find one near you. I’ll warn you that it’s very difficult to listen to the names of the dead without realizing that someone’s brother, sister, dad, mom, son, daughter, friend, wife, or husband is forever gone. You can help those who know someone who died, and those who have been hurt by others, by showing your support for them. You don’t need to know a trans person or be a trans person. Just being there will show love and support.
Trans people don’t just face the threat of death (at a far higher rate than others in the LGBT community), but also face injustice in many other areas. A heartbreaking read is Injustice at Every Turn, a report on the state of discrimination against trans people in the US. There are a bunch of horrible statistics there. For instance, nearly 1 in 5 (19%) of trans people say they were denied medical care because they were transgender. Imagine for a minute having your doctor say “I can’t treat people like you,” simply because of a medically irrelevant characteristic and a wrongheaded view of morals (hint: medical needs should take priority over your religious hangups; if you can’t do that, the medical field is the wrong field for you).
I’m praying for a day when people are allowed to be who they are without fear of attack or discrimination. Until then, I’ll speak out when I see injustice. I hope you will too. The worst thing we can do as allies, short of actually attacking another person, is to enable that attack by remaining silent.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. also said:
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.