Updated: Saturday, 14th December 2019 @ 6:16pm

Transgender Day of Remembrance brings the trans community together to fight the oppression

Transgender Day of Remembrance brings the trans community together to fight the oppression

| By Robert Kearns

Sparkle hosted the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday at Barpop on Manchester’s Canal Street to pay remembrance to those lost this past year for being trans and explain why the fight for trans equality is more important than ever.

The trans and non-binary/gender non-conforming community was honoured in a service organised by Sparkle who are The National Transgender Charity, with its patron Annie Wallace (from Channel 4’s ‘Hollyoaks’) hosting the event.

The community has suffered several setbacks this year with the Gender Recognition Act being postponed by the government, which would allow trans people to self-identify.

The anti-trans protest at the Manchester Pride Parade targeting the trans community and the transgender monument being burned a few weeks ago shows the extremist transphobic views that still exist in society today.

Jay Crawford, the Head of Sparkle, spoke of the triumphs the community has overcome this year with the trans community having a right to be “unapologetically themselves”.

He said: " The two trans women who faced the anti-trans protestors in Central London who claimed their love as trans-inclusive lesbian women… together we can face these challenges and overcome them.”

The message was clear that the fight is still ongoing for trans rights. The community needs to be heard and trans equality needs to be recognised more than ever.

Carl Austin-Behin, the former mayor of Manchester is making Manchester a better place to exist for the trans community as he states that “trans rights is human rights”.

He explained that a new service is being introduced by the Manchester Health & Social Care department.

“It will be an NHS-led identity service which will improve the physical and mental wellbeing of trans individuals.”

The supporter is attempting to improve the conditions within the city as the community have a right to be heard.

Mermaids, an organisation that helps young trans and their families by offering support and advice was advertised, with Annie Wallace stressing the importance of the crowdfunded organisation.

“We need to listen [to our children] as early as possible or we lose them," she said, also teasing an unlikely partnership on the horizon in 2020 which would be a time for real change while she continued to stress the urgency of the Gender Recognition Act.

The service included performances by singers Nina Kvasknnick and Sally Mcferran, celebrating the beauty of trans individuals with a powerful speech by Zane Robinson.

"The community is waiting for recognition, respect and most importantly, equal rights,” said Zane.

Lee Clatworthy, the Vice-Chair of Trustees at Sparkle, spoke of the individuals that were killed this year.

“A large percentage of the names will be Central/South American, many of them will be trans women of colour with the murder rate in the United States approximately seven times that of the general population.”

The memorial extended to the Sackville Gardens outside the Transgender Memorial monument to read the 362 names that the community has lost this past year. Tealights were spread across the gardens with purple being worn to commemorate Trans Awareness Week. Wallace spoke of how this is the first vigil to not include how an individual has died.

“We are not how we die, it’s how we live," she said.

Jay concluded how Sparkle are holding these vigils across the UK to raise awareness. The Transgender Memorial will be restored in collaboration with Mermaids and Manchester Council.

“The monument will be renovated for the community so they can show their respect to the fallen," said Jay.

 “It's to celebrate that they have made it after a tremendously difficult year of brutality.”

Despite the ongoing trauma and setbacks for the Transgender community, they came together to remember those that have been lost.

The union and partnerships being introduced by Sparke illustrate that the community will never be divided, especially in Manchester as it hopes to be leading the way for a more trans-inclusive society.

Sparkle: https://www.sparkle.org.uk/

Mermaids: https://mermaidsuk.org.uk/ Helpline: 0808 801 0400

Image courtesy of Marsha P. Johnson Institute via Twitter, with thanks.