The Transgender Day of Remembrance, occurring on Nov. 20 every year, is an annual—and under appreciated— day to remember trans people who have been victims of hate crimes. However, if the student and staff response at BC is anything to go by, there’s still a lot of work to do yet.
Collin Donovan, staff member of the Disability Resource Center and adviser at the LGBTQ* Center, thinks that it’s an important memorial day; though he adds that he sees it as “a day that should not have to exist, but does, and asks everyone in the world to work to end its existence.”
More critical is S.P.I.T.T.E.R.S. founder Ali Colluci. “I wish [the TDoR] was as big as spirit week. I wish that it was as big as the presidential inauguration and the debate on reduced pizza prices in the cafeteria. I wish it was bigger than all of these little, trivial things; and I wish it was more respected. These people have been through so much, they’ve endured so much. And they still are! Living or dead, they still are. Their families and friends still are. So the fact that people don’t even know that this day [exists]needs to change.”
And in a society where transgender rights and representation are less than they should be already, the lack of recognition for the TDOR is especially glaring. There are no readily available statistics for trans* media representation, but putting thought into it for more than a few minutes makes it seem obvious to most that there’s a problem. “I can honestly only think [of] three trans* characters in media,” complains returning student Devyn Nolan, “And of those three, only one who’s portrayed well and has a recurring role in her series.”
Nolan’s last comment refers to Sophia Burset, the transgender MtF— male-to-female— character portrayed by Laverne Cox in the Netflix original series “Orange is the New Black.”While Cox’s portrayal of Burset has garnered positive response from both critics and viewers, especially transgender fans of the show, many still find it frustrating that her portrayal of a transgender lady as an actual character and not just a one-off joke is a rarity and not the norm. Plainly put: the reception of the show is suggesting that viewers are ready for more Sophia Bursets and less Buffalo Bills.
And this is why it’s a problem that, on the one day of the year dedicated to trans* people, the cafeteria was full of people advertising their ski resorts and not people raising awareness about the TDOR. This is why it’s a problem that there’s such a huge lack of awareness. This is why it’s a problem that so many people—even transgender people—have no idea that it exists.
“I had no idea [the TDoR] was happening!” says transgender BC student McCall Madison, adding “if I had known, I would have gone out and volunteered somewhere or tried to put on an event or something.”