***Trigger Warning – Murder and Suicide***

I lead a privileged, pampered life, where any abuse I receive about my transgender status is veiled in humour, or empty claims that I am delusional, blasphemous or a bit ‘icky’. I am lucky.

On 20th November 2012 it will be the 14th Transgender Day of Remembrance. Once again, this day will be marking those people who have been killed because they are transgender. I wrote about this last year, and I’m not sure I can match the fire of the words I wrote a year ago, so I shan’t risk diluting them. Please read Transgender Day Of Remembrance and reflect that a year later there are yet more people added to the list of the dead, and who knows how many more who were never found, identified, or deemed worthy of becoming a recognised statistic.

For information about those people who campaigners have been able to add to the list of those who died between 20th November 2011 and 20th November 2012, please go to Memorializing – 2012 where you will also see links to some useful, if sobering, information about this day, and why it is marked.

In my post a year ago I touched on suicide as a leading cause of death in the transgender population. This doesn’t make it onto the Day of Remembrance  statistics, though it is something that has probably impacted most of us on a personal level in some way.

It’s hard to get ‘true’ statistics about suicide amongst trans* identified people, for a number of reasons. Someone may never have come out to anybody before killing themselves. If they had, their families may be reluctant for their gender identity to be discussed or identified as a factor in their death. However, the prevailing figures seem to be that somewhere between 31% and 50% of the trans* population has attempted to kill themselves. How many succeed? Too many.

It’s easy to speculate on why these figures are so high, but for my part I would look to the way we are treated by others, socially, personally and institutionally. We are ridiculed and misrepresented by the media, regarded as misfits, weirdos and even perverts by many other people, and made into legal outsiders by the governments of our countries. The thing is, if you tell somebody they are wrong enough times, it is possible they will start to believe it. We are not all revolutionaries and rebels, after all.

Of course, it’s easy for some to say “oh, those poor mixed-up people! If they’d just been content with the body they were born with, none of this would happen! Of COURSE they were unhappy – they were trying to mutilate themselves to achieve something that wasn’t even possible!” Sorry, but we don’t just need hugs and a good ticking off to put us on the right path, we need appropriate support for those who do struggle with reconciling their identity with what the rest of the world is telling them. Internal demons will always play their part, but where are those demons born? And how do they grow up so strong?

In a world where the casual murder of transgender people is an ongoing reality, suicide will continue to take lives too. I have said it many times before, and will probably be croaking it on my deathbed –  the values of this world have got to change.

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