Transgender Day of Rememberance

Today it is the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

TDoR occurs annually on 20th of November. It is a day to memorialise those who have been killed as a result of transphobia, to protest against the oppression, fear and hatred of transgender and intergenderd people. Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring project has registrated 238 cases of murders of trans people, just in the last 12 months…

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Home made candlelights.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1998 to memorialise the murder of Rita Hester, by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, herself a trans woman. Since then TDoR has been held annually, slowly grown and evolved from the web-based project started by Smith into an international day of action.

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I’m reading up the names of transgenderd people who have died during this year, because of who they were.

I took part in and helped organize a TDoR memorial today in the central square of Uppsala where I live. We lit candles in beautiful home made candlelights in the colours of the pride– and transgender flags and we handed out flyers to by-passers.

There where speeches and a ceremonial reading of some of the names of trans people who have been victims of violence and hate crime, just because of being who they where. We wanted to give them faces, so we had portraits of them placed around the square among the candles. I’m glad so many came, stopped by, listened and participated in the memorial today. Thank you all for making it such a beautiful ceremony!

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A busy evening in the middle of the city, yet we had a silent minute for those we’ve lost to hate and violence.

This day I also want to remember the brave ones that have gone down the road I’m on before me, all in your own way. I owe you so much! Some of you have fought for my right to be able to change my name to a male one, others for me to not have to go trough major surgery that makes me infertile, just because I want medical help to transition.

Some of you have had to keep your names and faces secret to the world while blogging about your transgender journey, in sadly justified fear of discrimination or hate crime. But with your activism, your actions and writings you have made it possible for me to not have be so secretive about myself. I have a choice. That is the greatest gift, the freedom to be oneself, without fear or shame. You have helped opening up the worlds eyes to trans issues, and you’ve made my world larger and lighter. You know who you are, thank you.

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“Stop violence against trans people”

Transgender Day of Remembrance is almost over when I write this, bit it is never to late to make a difference. If you also want to do something, I’ve got a suggestion. Do something fun that also is a way to help change the world to better place – check out these three small independent queer games! A close friend of mine tipped me off on them and wrote a short article about them here. Important, interesting and educational!

Manichi – Play it and test how to adapt in different ways to avoid social punishment.

Negative Space – Experience to explore what it can be like when gender roles are too limited.

Dys4ia – About the physical transitioning process that some transgender people are going through.

/ E.

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Transformers

I’ve just been to my first gettogether with the local trans group. I’ve heard that they are not very active, but that might be about to change. They have a brand new place to meet now, much more comfy and easier to get to than the old and cold cellar room they had before.

There were about 10 people there in various ages, sipping tea and small talking. I didn’t know anyone directly but there were two or three familiar faces. The conversation sort of stopped when I entered and I didn’t know what to make out of it. I introduced myself and had a cup of tea and just sat down to take in the atmosphere.

Slowly, things settled again and the conversation got going. They talked about many things. Among them were names and how to choose a new one for yourself, what to think of and how one can feel about it. We talked about social norms around gender and gender identity. How complex it can be to want to change something with yourself – does a change on a personal level also on a more structural level make the world less diverse and the norms around gender or gender identity stronger?

I had a good time and I got some feedback on my ideas about the gym. Someone said that private locker rooms with access to a private shower would be to prefer for them, rather than a small gender neutral locker room and shower shared with a few other people, even if that is a more costly alternative. One person pointed out to me that it might be better not to talk about it as primary a trans issue, that pushing the more general “people-with-special-needs-group”-button could be more effective. She also said that it could be a good idea to talk to some handicap organization of some sort, looking for good allies. Someone else added that I should talk to others in the trans community who have been lobbying for this sort of stuff before.

But sadly, no one there seemed interested in it on a more personal level. I’d love to have other people that are trans to go to the gym with sometimes. That’d be both inspirational and fun and I think it would help me challenging myself. We could sort of support each other. But I haven’t given up on this, I have a few prospects in mind right now. We’ll see what happens.

PicsArt_1384559980397[1]By the way – regarding the value of a supportive network – I’m lucky enough to already have an awesome network of my own. Today’s t-shirt is a good example. I got it at a party last weekend as a sign of love and support. A nerdy t-shirt with an 80′s classic “boy toy” motif and the text “Trans formers – more than meets the eye”… It is just so right for me, nerdy and proud of it and born in the early 80′s as I am. I love it!

Pride can be worn quite literally sometimes, and today is a day as good as any to do it. :-)

Transitional thoughts

I have to start writing somewhere, I can’t keep on spamming Facebook with my trans related experiences and thoughts like I’ve been doing lately. I mean, it is fine to write about trans on Facebook, but I don’t want to be the guy who only post trans related stuff all the time and sometimes I want to be able get deeper into some subjects. Here is the place where I will do just that, in my personal trans diary.

What’s new is the fact that I have accepted that I actually am in some sort of transitional phase or process. I’m not becoming someone else or something entirely different, but I express myself differently and I enjoy to explore what being trans means for me. I spend a lot of time thinking of how I am perceived, how I want to be perceived by others and how I am to achieve that.

For instance – I just started a new class at the university. That means that I study together with new people that don’t know my old female name. I think that they view me as trans –  I certainly don’t pass as a guy, my voice is an instant givaway. But they don’t seem to have any problem with that, I’m pleased to notice how they treat me with respect and curiosity, no questions asked.

I just love that moment when I am to present myself to someone for the first time: I look them straight in their eyes and smilingly tell them with my clearest deepest voice “I’m Emil”, not leaving any doubts about the name. I’m not Elli, Emelie or Emile. The smile tells them that everything is all right and I hope that it makes the other person feel more comfortable, this is after all a situation that some people find confusing. The eye contact leaves no room for misunderstandings and our handshake seals our agreement upon my name and how I’m to be spoken to or about, no matter my how I look. Most people take the hint really well and use the right pronoun after that introduction.

Other transitional thoughts:

Is there a masculine way to speak? And if it does, do I want to adapt to it? Isn’t that just a way to limit yourself and to validate stupid ideas about how men and women are to behave, as if we are so different from each other? The same thing goes for body language, is there a masculine way to express yourself and how far do I want I push it? Also, I suspect that many things “masculine” works oppressive towards more “feminine” ways?

My body. Motivated by the opportunity to transform my body without hormones I’ve started to work out like crazy. I also think of it as a way to free myself from negative stress and to prevent SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Every other day I spend a few hours at the gym. It makes me feel amazing and already after a few weeks I can both see and feel the result! I hope that I can keep this up and wonder how far it will take me. Hormones or not are a subject for an entire post, so I will not discuss it today.

The trans community. I’ve heard that there is a solid one where I live. I know a few other trans- or intergenderd people, some of whom are close friends. But I’ve never dared to go to their monthly get-together at RFSL. Not until recently when I’ve started to feel more secure about my trans identity have I felt ready to go there, even if I know it is open to everyone who’s just curious or have trans friends or whatever. So next Wednesday, it will be my first time. I’m looking forward to it!

I wish coming out as trans could be as easy for everyone as it was for me. When I have a bad day, I like to think of it, how well I’ve been treated and how lucky I am to have such a supportive network of family and friends. I’ll be writing more about that another day. Now I have to get ready for tonight’s party, we are celebrating my new name and my best friends birthday, it’s gonna be a blast! 🙂