Over the last few years, trans issues have gained a lot of traction in this country. This past week, many people from all over the world came together for Transgender Awareness Week, with hopes to address and educate people on the issues the trans communities face. The Canadian population has slowly become more aware of trans people and issues that impact this diverse and ever-expanding communities.
Our own campus is quite inclusive and open, and we have several groups, including the Centre for Gender Advocacy and Queer Concordia, constantly advocating for LGBTQ+ rights within our community. We here at The Concordian applaud them for the amazing work they do.
This aside, the amount of violence and discrimination towards trans individuals across the world is absolutely staggering and disturbing. Every 31 hours, a trans individual is murdered somewhere in the world, according to the Trans Murder Monitoring Project. There have been 137 murders in North America alone between January 2008 and December 2015, according to Transgender Europe (TGEU).
If we look at the data provided by TGEU from a broad perspective, Central and South America have the highest rates of trans murder, with more than 1500 homicides in the last five years. These figures only represent murders that were reported. The number is probably a lot higher due to the fact that many trans murders go unreported, especially in third world countries, according to TGEU.
Furthermore, there were 21 trans deaths so far this year in the United States alone, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The organization reported these deaths were due to gunshots, stabbings and physical attacks, and the rates are higher when looking at trans individuals of colour.
Transphobia is not just some term loosely thrown around in the media—it is a real issue that impacts individuals on a daily basis, and poses a real threat to their very existence in our society.
In a powerful op-ed for The Guardian, Meredith Talusan stated that simply being trans makes individuals a target in our transphobic society. Talusan goes on to say that transphobia is omnipresent and can present itself a variety of forms, even from loved ones. She even stated a trans woman, she’s experienced discrimination from straight men who believe she’s “fooling them” and does not have the right to occupy the same spaces as a cisgendered woman.
Here at The Concordian, we find these transphobic incidents completely unacceptable and upsetting. Just because someone doesn’t understand the basics of trans issues, does not mean they have the right to ostracize and marginalize them from the rest of society. Now is the time when we must work tirelessly to continue to educate the public and prevent any form of transphobia.
Just this past May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced Bill C-16, which would allow individuals to freely express their gender and would protect them from “discrimination and hate,” according to CBC News.
Last week, Bill C-16 was passed in the House of Commons, meaning our government has took a giant stride towards protecting trans individuals in Canada. The Concordian is incredibly proud of this bill, but we urge the entire student population to educate themselves on trans issues and fight transphobia wherever and whenever you come across it.
If we listen to the wise words of Deepak Chopra, “Nothing brings down walls as surely as acceptance.”