International Trans Day of Remembrance
I would like to start with a confession and one that I have kept secret for a long time. When I was young, I stole a chocolate bar from the local newsagent. I planned it carefully and, as if it would make any difference, I made sure that I had enough pocket-money in my, uh, pocket to pay for it. I ate the bar as soon as I dared and, I have to confess, it was a genuinely guilty act of consumption. Suffice to say, I wasn't caught, but the guilt, the self-reproach that I felt, ensured that I never did it again.
Why would I mention this ancient crime? Because it is the only time that I remember feeling empathy with people that set out to break the law. I regard myself as a law-abiding citizen, so while I can try to understand what may drive people to break the law, I cannot empathise with those that choose to do so.
In the case of murder, the premeditated act of extinguishing another person's life, not only do I not empathise, I do not understand. I ask myself why anyone would do that and, try as I might, I cannot come up with an answer. It is beyond my comprehension. Nothing, in my privileged, white life, has given me any insight into what drives someone to take another's life. Yet it happens and for reasons that many of us would think do not warrant such a violent reaction.
I raise the topic of murder because I would like to focus on those murders that are perpetrated on a small section of the population, for apparently no other reason than they are part of that section of the population. Between 0.5% and 1% of the total population are transgendered individuals. Distressingly, in the year to date, 350 transgender people have been murdered worldwide. The majority of the victims, 342, were trans-women (male-to-female). 28 of these murders were in the United States and the majority of those, 22, were people of colour. The statistics can be found here (https://transrespect.org/en/tmm-update-tdor-2020).
In comparison, and fortunately for me, none of these were in the UK. However, this does not preclude anyone from empathising (that word again) with members of the LGBTQ+ community in the UK and around the world. This Friday 20 November is the international Trans Day of Remembrance. On this day we honour the memory of those transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. This week is Transgender Awareness Week which exists to help raise the visibility of transgender people and the issues that they face.
If you have read this far, then you might be asking "What has this got to do with me?" To which I would respond "Keep on doing what you are doing." The Northrop Grumman community, as far as my experience attests, puts into practice the live-and-let-live principles that enable a diverse community to work together. Since I came out in March of this year, I have not heard any offensive comments nor suffered any discrimination, on the contrary, people have been most supportive. So, more of the same please and thank you to everybody who has shown some basic human kindness to me or any other members of the LGBTQ+ community, I assure you that it does make a difference. And if you could spare a thought on Friday for those that have lost their lives just because of who they were then that would be lovely too.