We Need to Fight Gender Violence

By Torshawna Griffin

poly-symbol-2Wednesday night was the Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony at UMKC. Although I did not attend, I still mourn with the family and friends of people who had lost their loved ones to senseless violence against transgender people. In my opinion, being transgender is not a choice, but more of a development at birth. Just like a child knows what foods they like and don’t like at a young age, I feel that they can know whether they identify more with a girl or a boy. How does a child wanting to identify as a different gender than what he or she is physically differ from a girl running around saying that she is a tomboy? It does, a tomboy is a girl who likes to dress more like the boys, it does not mean that she is gay or bisexual; it just means that she identifies with a male more than women. Think about girls who play basketball and want to play ball as hard as the boys; why are they not looked at different when they say they want to play ball like the boys? This brings me back to Laverne Cox’s story about her first counseling appointment. She was asked, “What is the difference between a boy and a girl?” She responded, “There is no difference.” In today’s society, girls can cut their hair off and boys can grow hair. Males even wear pink. So once again, I question what the difference is.

Two to 5% of the population is said to be transgender. In a survey done in 1999, 20% of all murders were targeted for transgender people and about 40% of all police-initiated violence was targeted towards transgender people. So, you can only imagine what the numbers have changed to. What troubles me the most is that they are treated like this due to the ignorance of other people? My mother always taught me that if you know better than you do better. If people only knew what people who identify as transgender feel like, being trapped in a body that they don’t identify with. Imagine that you are somewhere that you feel uncomfortable with, that is the same discomfort, I’m sure, that transgender people feel every day.

What troubles me more is for the fact that recently a transgender woman was beaten to death in front of a precinct in Harlem and no one came out to help; however, the police around the Harlem area were riding on their routine patrols.  People of America, we need to become aware of issues before we judge. You pursue your happiness, so why can’t everyone else pursue theirs?

Show your support for ending gender violence by getting involved in 16 Days of Activism, beginning on Monday.