The Transgender Day of Remembrance is November 20. It is when this that dies at the hands of anti-transgender violence is honored. Last year, at least 29 people died of anti-transgender violence. This is the highest ever recorded. Transgenders are more likely to unemployed, homeless and have poor health insurance. They are constantly victims of prejudice, homophobia, transphobia, classism, and sexism.
We must also fight for transgender rights as we remember those that lost their lives due to trans violence. Mainstream feminism has continually excluded transgender communities and women. Transgenders are usually excluded from communications on gendered oppression and the harms of patriarchy.
We must fight for transgenders as we also fight a binary-enforcing culture. Feminists must fight for trans liberation today as they have also contributed to trans erasure. Pink pussy hats are popular in trans marches. These hats which signify a better place for those with a vagina have excluded trans and nonbinary people.
The Trump Administration has done so much to roll back LGBTQ rights like denying them visas, banning them from serving in the military and dismissing the advisory council for HIV/AIDS. Now, the Trump Administration wants to exclude transgender and binary people from its legal definition of gender. This will affect the ability of transgenders to access health care, education, housing, and other things.
The rights of women have been largely championed while neglecting those of trans people. Over 1 in 3 trans women have been sexually assaulted, and 1 in 2 trans men have been sexually assaulted. Nonbinary people even face a higher level of sexual assault. When discussing oppression, we should talk about those that have been oppressed the most. #MeToo has been pivotal for cisgender women as they navigate sex, consent, and power. But we must understand that patriarchy is a system that affects everyone and uphold binary ideas about sexual violence.
Any feminism that does not take into consideration the various facets of womanhood is not liberating to all. There is even a group of trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERF) that believe that the needs of cisgender women do not align with the needs of transgender people and transgenders have no place in the feminist movement.
Trans-exclusion among feminists is wrong and hypocritical. It is the act of doing what we accuse the patriarchy of supporting. Movements have grown more inclusive, but there is a need for us to do more. Even among feminists that accept transgenders, they see transgenders as victims and not powerful people who can champion a cause.
Trans people will continue to exist and cannot be erased. Trans rights are human rights. We must recognize that cisgender feminists have failed transgenders and we must make amends. We are all harmed by patriarchy, and we must understand that our struggles are intertwined. We must create space for trans women, and we must support their leadership.
We must challenge transphobia, and we must engage critically with our cisgender privilege. We must carry the transgender community along. Feminism cannot exist without trans voices. We must no longer fold our arms and watch as transgenders are being oppressed and marginalized.