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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Show solidarity on November 20th

<vember 20th, unite against hatred, violence, and discrimination on the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The Day of Remembrance began in November 1998 to honor those killed because of their gender identity or presentation. The death of Rita Hester on November 29, 1998 triggered a web project called “Remembering Our Dead” and a candlelight vigil in San Francisco, which evolved into the national event that it is today. This year, over 50 vigils in 31 states across the county in addition to Europe and the Second Life virtual world will be taking place.

The day raises awareness of the violence committed against transgender people, an umbrella term for people who do not conform to society’s gender norms, including those who cross-dress and those who do not identify with the gender assigned at birth. Violence against trans people continues to be prevalent, as evidenced by the fact that trans people in this county have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered, compared with 1 in 18,000 for the average American. Over the past decade more than one person per month has died, each a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people. Many of these murders remain unsolved and receive little attention from the media or the justice system. Only last week, with the passing of the Matthew Shepard Act, has hate crime protection been expanded to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.

At Carleton, we commemorate this day to show solidarity with a national movement against prejudice and violence and to support everyone on our campus, including those who identify as gender-nonconforming, transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, bigender, and any other marginalized gender identity. We observe this day to demonstrate that as a community we do not tolerate hatred or prejudice.

This day is a reminder that even at Carleton, where many of us feel safe expressing ourselves, not everyone always does. Despite best intentions, comments are occasionally made that do not validate the experiences of everyone in our community. Although physical and hate-based violence are rare, not everyone at Carleton is protected from these acts. For example, Carleton’s anti-discrimination policy does not include gender identity and expression.

On November 20th there will be a vigil all day in the Chapel and we invite you to take the time to reflect on this day. This day reminds us that trans people are connected to us in intimate ways—they are our parents, siblings, friends, and peers, and violence committed against any member of our community affects us all. This day also gives allies an opportunity to show support for the trans people in our lives and communities and show them love and respect in the face of national indifference and hatred.

-Sarah Berlin is a second-year student, Jane Sturges is a fourth-year student

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