DEAR STONEWALL, PLEASE STOP EXPLOITING OUR DEAD!

De-transitioned in Death, How the Media Disrespects Transgender People
October 30, 2010
Trans Exclusionists: It’s Your Turn
December 2, 2010

DEAR STONEWALL, PLEASE STOP EXPLOITING OUR DEAD!

I’m pissed. Every year I write this post. EVERY SINGLE GODDAMN YEAR. You just can’t help but feed off the dead. You did it in 2007, in 2008, and 2009, and you’re doing it again this year. What am I talking about? Every year I do a post about a group that is either exploiting or misusing the Transgender Day of Remembrance.  Today after reading Gwen Smith’s  “Dancing on Graves” on the subject, I get this in my email:

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance – a day when we remember all the lives tragically lost to violence against transgender or gender variant people around the world. It’s also a day that we recommit to including the “T” in LGBT in our quest for full equality. We do have reason for hope: the Obama Administration appointed Amanda Simpson, an out trans woman from Arizona, to the Commerce Department. The Administration took action on behalf of the trans community with an executive ruling that allows passports to be dependent on gender identity, not on gender reassignment surgery status.  Also, we also have visible transgender staffers on the Hill, including Diego Rivera, legislative assistant for Rep. Barney Frank. These pioneers and actions give hope and inspiration to trans and gender variant people around the country – and the world. I am very proud of the fact that, as a transwoman, I have been able to serve as a Board Co-Chair for the National Stonewall Democrats, to have served in various leadership positions in Stonewall-affiliated clubs in New York City, and to have been the first trans person elected to office in New York. I am not alone at Stonewall: among other trans women and men in leadership roles through the organization’s history, Babs Casbar Siperstein serves as the Co-Chair for NSD’s Political Action Committee; she is also the first transgender member of the Democratic National Committee. As an organization, we value the transgender members of the Stonewall family in affiliates all over the country, many of them in club leadership. I am proud to be a transgender woman. I am proud to be a Democrat. And I am especially proud to be a Stonewall Democrat and to be involved in making sure that equality means every member of the LGBT community, working tirelessly on issues like a trans-inclusive (commonly called ‘fully inclusive) Employment Non-Discrimination Act, for example. We’re not there yet, but I know that with your full engagement, we will see full equality for all of us soon. Finally, join me in taking a moment to quietly remember those we’ve lost to violence, hatred and bigotry because of transphobia or because someone didn’t conform to gender stereotypes. And then join me – and National Stonewall Democrats – in working to make sure that those numbers shrink every year. With great appreciation, Melissa Sklarz Melissa Sklarz Co-Chair, National Stonewall Democrats

First of all, today isn’t the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). It’s actually on November 20th, 2010. Secondly, I guess that Diego Sanchez was fired and Diego Rivera was hired by Representative Barney Frank.  All Latino transmen look the same  anyway, right? But these obviously sloppy mistakes aside, the message is clear. It’s sad people died for being who they are,  SUPPORT THE STONEWALL DEMOCRATS.  It’s really a tragedy what happened to these people, SUPPORT STONEWALL DEMOCRATS. Remember all the good things we did for transgender people, SUPPORT STONEWALL DEMOCRATS. No it’s not a day to recommit to trans-equality. It’s a day TO MOURN OUR FALLEN, PERIOD.  It’s not a day to raise money for your political organization. It doesn’t need to be anything more than it already is. Mourning our dead is important enough. If attorneys are ambulance chasers, you’re being hearse chasers.  Please just stop.

21 Comments

  1. Christine Smith says:

    Right, okay, good, and you’re doing what on this issue? Helping the prosecutors to put killers behind bars? Financial support to families?

    Oh. Barney ‘Locker Room Panic’ Frank has… or had… a trans staffer. Uh huh.

    I’m with you. This is cynical and nasty.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If they want to show me that they care, then instead of writing a political action letter, they could try writing a community memorial service. And reading it in front of the mourning crowd. And trying to get through reading their part before their tears completely overwhelm them.

  3. Melissa says:

    LGBT Center is having TDOR on Friday. LI is having its event on Sunday. Have a good ceremony in Indiana.

  4. Anonymous says:

    “Would you do that at your grandmother’s funeral?” probably still stands as the best way I’ve seen of quickly stating what is wrong with these attempts to co-opt the remembrance.

  5. Susan Collins says:

    Thank you for this.

  6. Lourdesashleyhunter says:

    Its interesting how people are so quick to judge and throw stones. Remembering those who have been taken away from us due to violence and hatred is what the day is about. However you choose to do this is up to you. Im not one to mourn at anyones funeral. In my family, when a loved one has passed on, we have a coming home ceremony then a huge dinner party; remembering the good times we shared and its a happy time to be around the ones we love the most.

    Many have been lost. I plan to celebrate their lives, I plan to toast to the contribution that these brave folk have made so that I can live. Bringing up issues of hope during a time like this is needed. Trans youth are killing themselves and being killed because there may seem not to be any hope around. I didn’t read anything about giving money to Stonewall Dems… Its amazing how powerful someone can be when they respond online to someone else. But what are you doing in the real world to make a difference. I see this chick often on the front line… fighting for Trans rights. She has a job in a office that has noting to do with trans issues. She has paved the way for many in the struggle, including me. Im sorry if you have not benefited directly from what she has to offer.

    Furthermore, whatever the Stonewall Dems are not doing to satisfy your need to “mourn” then maybe you should tell us where your event is and we will put it on the list.

    Personally, I will stop by Manhattans LGBT Center for a bit, Then Im going to a party, TO TOAST TO THOSE WHO ARE NO LONGER HERE AND CELEBRATE LIFE, Cause that is how I was raised to mourn.

    Cheers

    • Kat says:

      “Remembering those who have been taken away from us due to violence and hatred is what the day is about. However you choose to do this is up to you. Im not one to mourn at anyones funeral. In my family, when a loved one has passed on, we have a coming home ceremony then a huge dinner party; remembering the good times we shared and its a happy time to be around the ones we love the most.”

      Fine then. When next a member of your family dies, I’ll try to make a buck off of it.

    • Melanie Davis says:

      Did you even read the message? This letter was in bad taste, and hastily thrown together. Sure, it has the word “hope” in it twice and a nice upbeat sort of tone. Then, again, it had the word “Stonewall” appearing 6 times in the body of it, 7 if you count her title. It is rather obviously a piece of propaganda instead of a memorial. It has nothing to do with the TDOR other than to use it as a springboard to dive into accolades and accomplishments. But such is the bumbling nature of our political behemoths, carelessly and coldly tramping over the countryside picking up whatever earnest and deeply important institutions suit it at the moment, sucking the meaning out of it, and moving on to the next.

      By all means, celebrate the lives of our fallen in whatever way you want. But do not confuse this tripe with a celebration. If it had come out after the TDOR as a follow-up thanks-giving sort of piece, it may have been better received (a hint for the next time).

      Now, I have one more thing to say. Curb your nasty mouth, or fingers, as the case may be. “What, me?” you may ask. Let me quote: “Its interesting how people are so quick to judge and throw stones.” and “Its amazing how powerful someone can be when they respond online to someone else. But what are you doing in the real world to make a difference.” and “Im sorry if you have not benefited directly from what she has to offer.” oh, and “Furthermore, whatever the Stonewall Dems are not doing to satisfy your need to “mourn” then maybe you should tell us where your event is and we will put it on the list.”

      Aww, look at you. Condescension, that’s so cute!

      Google Marti’s name before you stick your party shoe in your mouth. Hers is a laudable career in the fight for trans rights and the Democrat party both locally and in the larger arena. She’s loud, opinionated, and brutally honest. She gives credit where it is due, and calls out the failings wherever they come from.

      Go and celebrate, that is my custom as well, but do not try to defend this handbill as a celebration of life or those who lost theirs. It could have been, but it wasn’t.

    • Anonymous says:

      We ought to celebrate a small child’s life instead of mourn the death of his beating because he was “acting like a girl”? *eyeroll* These aren’t people that died, THEY WERE BRUTALLY MURDERED b/c they were trans.

    • Anonymous says:

      As Melanie says below, it’s not about the “mourning”, but the springboard used to launch “It’s all about me” that is so offensive.

  7. Kat says:

    “I guess that Diego Sanchez was fired and Diego Rivera was hired by Representative Barney Frank”

    Well, given that the theme here is exploitation of the dead, forcing a dead artist – who was married to a gender-non-conforming artist – to work for a brain-dead transphobic congressman whose top legislative priority is demonization of trans women would indeed be appropriate.

  8. Kat says:

    “I am very proud of the fact that, as a transwoman, I have been able to serve as a Board Co-Chair for the National Stonewall Democrats, to have served in various leadership positions in Stonewall-affiliated clubs in New York City, and to have been the first trans person elected to office in New York.”

    New York…

    A state where you, “as a transwoman,” can still be legally discriminated against by all of the non-trans gays and lesbians who are trying to make a buck off of the deaths of all of the trans people who have died after being forced out of the legitimate economies of jurisdictions – like New York – where gays and lesbians gave themselves the special right to discriminate against trans people and now have gay marriage as their top priority.

  9. Diybritain says:

    hillarious!!!

  10. anonymously yours says:

    What gets me is when our very own trans-serving organizations use the DoR as a way to raise money for their own agencies. To me it feels like it would be a time when our organizations come together to raise awareness and show support to the families that have lost their loved ones.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “As a transwoman [sic]” who is STILL ALIVE, the TDOR has nothing to do with promoting me or my accomplishments or the organizations I belong to. It’s a day when I read the names of our dead and each name sticks in my throat like a pinecone. It’s a day when there aren’t enough tears to cool the heat in my eyes, and never, ever enough oxygen getting past the lump in my throat. It’s a day when I want us to hold a vigil powered not by candle light, but by thermonuclear devices. The TDOR is not a day for chirpy self-aggrandizement.

  12. […] tried to exploit the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), but after repeated attempts (1, 2, 3, 4) I have come to expect it. This year’s attempt comes from the Massachusetts Transgender […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *