My name is Carlie Williams, and I am a transgender woman working as a Customer Support Engineer at Matterport. Today, November 20th marks Transgender Day of Remembrance (or TDOR). You may be asking yourself, “Why do transgender people need a day of remembrance?” And that is part of the issue. Most people don’t know the struggles the transgender community has faced for decades, possibly centuries.
TDOR began in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honour the memory of a transgender woman named Rita Hester in 1998. The vigil commemorated all of the transgender people lost to violence since her death and it marked the birth of an annual day of remembrance.
In 2020, the Transgender community has not only seen a huge influx in both visibility, but also of needless deaths. Twelve percent of all transgender individuals have died of suicide for any number of reasons, such as being unable to obtain Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to treat their gender dysphoria; a simple lack of acceptance as themselves; or because of the harassment they face from others who are not trans themselves -- particularly, Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (or TERFs.) These individuals are born women and vehemently believe that trans women and nonbinary people should not occupy any of the same spaces as them, such as bathrooms and sports teams - mainly because they think we are sexual predators.
Since 2013, the 36 states have considered, passed, and/or repealed "Bathroom Bill" legislation restricting access to multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-segregated facilities on the basis of a definition of sex or gender consistent with the sex assigned at birth or “biological sex." The reality is we are more afraid of them than they are of us. All we want is just to be accepted.
The same can be said for trans men. Many are viewed as ‘not masculine enough’ to be seen as a man, feeling pressured to act and speak a specific way to be recognised for who they are.
This year alone, bills across the world have passed that have either denied the transgender community the help that they need, such as prescriptions to not being allowed to self-identify as to who we are, to a Senator trying to pass a US bill that will make it a violation for trans women to participate in women’s sports or suffer losing federal funding.
Our struggle is constant. It flies under the radar. we are dying to hate crimes and suicide.
Most of society wants to put up a fight and force us into a gender box. By celebrating days like today, the transgender community is trying to convey that we are simply harmless human beings who want the right to live out our lives as who we are - to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, just like everybody else.
I’m proud to work for Matterport, a company that supports diversity and inclusion and stands against these needless acts of hate towards my community and all individuals. We openly welcome the transgender community in both employment with fair compensation, as well as any individual who doesn’t identify with the gender they were born with. We are committed to true equality and diversity and stand against needless hate based on race, sexual orientation, nationality, and/or gender. We stand for you and for all.