......Response from the LGBT CommunityA request through e-mail was sent to PT’s In House Programme Manager to advertise the event on his regular Yahoo groups. There was no reply from him. Fellow ex-gay survivor Pang Kee Teik was most accommodating; he sent out messages to all the member of the Sexualiti Merdeka Facebook Group. However, no one from the group showed up. The Malaysian Human Rights Council and Joint Action Group For Gender Equality (JAG) were also notified via e-mail. There was no e-mail reply, and no representatives from either group. This may be a sign that most gays and lesbians, or even those working on sexuality and human rights, still do not regard trans violence something worth their time or importance, even though those perceived to be transgender have same risks of violence in Malaysia.Most of the participants this year felt bored and have a nonchalant attitude towards the event. When the names of the dead were read out, instead of mourning, most of them were already chatting away and some did not even light one candle. Valuable materials that were printed out for them were a waste as most did not read them, probably because they do not know the English language, and for some they simply did not care. It is also saddening that most of the names from the memorial list failed to be read out, because they stopped paying attention to the candlelight vigil. This shows total lack of respect for the dead, and in this case ironically it is their own, and it could happen to them. It is my deepest regret I cannot finish the list, and that they do not consider their dead important.A few prominent trans individuals were also invited to the event, and they too did not show up. This smacks of irony, as one of the prominent figures that funded the event was a trans woman from Singapore. It comes as a surprise to me that an individual from across the causeway would care about the transgender community in Malaysia, more than the Malaysian trans people themselves. This, in my opinion, marks the spirit of surrender by most of the transgender community especially among the Malays; their complacency, as most of them were negative in their attitude, and do not even care about tomorrow.In conclusionI was however, encouraged by some positive signs. Several trans people, while most were preparing to go back, continue lighting the candles until all of them are lit. Some were seen praying for the souls of their friends. And some do realize the reasons why we remember our dead. It is simply because it could be one of our family members, or our friends, or ourselves. I do believe the list should have been completed. All the names are people who have existed to make all of us visible. They have friends and families, and they were living people. And furthermore, these are victims of prejudice and hate, and this sort of violence can happen to anyone within the LGBT community. They do deserve their due recognition, especially when it is already so difficult to track down more of the deaths that are unreported to the police, or dismissed by the media.There are lessons to be learnt from conducting a TDOR memorial. The event was not a total failure, for some do get the message. But I find it shocking that in comparison to the TDOR event last year, cisgenders seem to care more about trans people than transgenders themselves. Perhaps there is a dire need now for transgenders to take a hard look in the mirror and ask themselves what they really want out of their lives. To have their existence validated, or be thrown into the abyss where they will not even be remembered by their own. Right now I have made my decision to not let circumstances get me down. But unless they decide to do so too, their stance will affect me, as I will be just a single voice. It is my hope, for TDOR next year, every one, gay or straight, cis or trans, would come together for one simple reason. Hate is evil. The violence and murders must stop.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I was talking with another Transgender Day of Remembrance organizer last night. We both agreed that it was important to see who did not attend TDOR. This includes many Trans people as well as organizations who say they are fully inclusive.
It is so easy to passive aggressively return a positive response to an invitation or verbalize solidarity. Actions speak louder than words.
Trans rights apathy is not just here in the United States. It is not just in the LGBT community. It is world wide and crosses all boundaries as the article below so aptly illustrates.
Posted by De Sube at 11/23/2009 10:19:00 AM