Friday 20th - Transgender Day of Remembrance

Grief and Dreams

November 20, 2009

Daisy Dube
This Friday Daisy Dube will be remembered. Daisy was shot and killed in Yeoville in 2008 because of her gender identity. She and three drag queens out for the night stopped and asked three men in a car to stop calling them "isitabane." (An isiZulu slur used for LGBT people). Her cold blooded murder was a result of transphobia. She was shot and killed for defending her identity.

Friday 20 November 2009 is TDOR - Transgender Day of Remembrance. The day is commemorated around the world as a way to highlight and end violence against trangender people. The Day draws attention to the many nameless and faceless victims that the media never hears of - stories that shame us as a society and as human beings.

One such victim - Aunty Victoria, attempted suicide and later died in Muhimbili National Hospital Dar es Salaam this year. The years of stigma and constant discrimination, and finally the loss of her lover made her life unbearable.

Hours before her death, naked and unconscious, a hospital worker took photographs of her body. The photos were uploaded to the internet, sent out via email list servs and widely circulated. Echoing this shocking disrespect, the morgue at Muhimbili was left unlocked and hundreds of people queued to look at her body. By the time Aunty Victoria was buried, her breasts and genitals were surgically removed to conform to the Muslim belief that her body should be the one she was born with, so that Allah would recognise her in death.

Transgenderism is classified globally as a mental disorder, rather than a natural gender variation.

Transgender activists the world over are advocating for the condition to be reclassified as a medical condition.

This western diagnosis contributes to the ongoing transphobia, isolation and pain that trangender people face - resulting in depression and suicidal tendencies. African societies which traditionally respected members who didn't conform to the standard gender binary, are beginning to take on the first world view and are treating transgendered people like freaks to be culled.

On Transgender Day of Remembrance, Non profit Transgender organisation Gender DynamiX and its partner GALA (Gay and Lesbian memory in Action) will release their book TRANS: Transgender life stories from South Africa.

Simone Heradien, board member of Gender DynamiX, says "We plead with the wider community of South Africa to join us in remembering these casualties of hatred, intolerance and injustice. South African law acknowledges and respects the concept of gender expression not being a fixed notion.
Gender DynamiX is an organisation that deals with expression of sex and gender. We appeal to the media, politicians and the public to remember that the human rights are for all South Africans. We are human first before gender, race, class or creed." – Issued by Gender DynamiX

Related stories
Transgender Day of Remembrance - Africa



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