Remembrance, resilience, revolution

Don’t be tempted to oversimplify this day.

The long lists of victims are not yours to consume. They are not a spectacle. And trans people will not be reduced to our (dead) bodies.

The people in these lists are overwhelmingly young trans women of colour. Yet race, gender presentation, class, age (not to mention ability, sexuality, and historical context) are deliberately erased. All these murders were against ‘trans’ people because of ‘transphobia’. A much simpler narrative indeed.

And simple problems demand simple solutions: better policing and bigger punishments. More money to the reformist NGOs and the police. There’s certainly no need to mention racism, poverty, trans people in prison or the criminalisation of sex work.

Violence is not a snapshot, some single moment when individual transphobe meets individual trans person in a dark alley. It is systemic, it is everywhere and it works through intersections. In a society built on violence and privilege and double standards, when we ignore these experiences, certain powerful people – cis and trans – get to tell the story, to define who ‘trans’ people are and to decide who remembers what and how.

These people in these lists were not only trans. And they did not only die. Their bodies are most certainly not available for anyone’s colonisation or remembrance as a spectacle of gruesome violence.

When that happens, the dead are objectified and fetishised.

When that happens, our resistance is co-opted,  stolen and misdirected to the benefit of the most privileged.

None of this is new of course. These same things have been happening for centuries. But this is a moment of opportunity and choice for trans communities in the west. We can have our resistance, our analysis, our struggle, our work be stolen for the benefit of the few.  Or we can actually do something real about the violent forces that are killing the most marginalised of our communities. I think it’s time.

(Thanks to Yonah for edits <3)

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