There are so many spaces where trans people aren’t welcome and where their very existence is put into question. In the aftermath of Brianna’s death, it’s easy to say that “no one would have wanted this.” But is that true of people who denied her and still deny other trans people their right to exist? People who ignore her reality and close their doors to her? What else could those who push “anti-transgender” policies, ideas or agendas — and those who platform them — really want?
When the fire of transphobia is allowed to burn, those who wish to eliminate transness see their wish come true.
At the heart of any fire is the kindling. In this case, the kindling is the spaces where trans and genderqueer individuals or anyone who doesn’t otherwise fit into traditional gender roles can’t feel that they belong.
A vigil for the International Transgender Day of Remembrance memorialized the deaths of transgender individuals through poetry, song and a candle ceremony. The lighting of each candle represented 15 lost lives.
On Sept. 27, nearly a month before The New York Times reported that the Trump administration is considering defining transgender out of existence, the University published a new 15-page guide for transgender people at Cornell, outlining tips on coming out and transitioning in the workplace.
Lamda Law Association, an LGBT student organization at Cornell Law School, is planning to protest military recruitment at the law school due to the uncertainty of the status of transgender individuals serving and enlisting in the military.
The vigil’s organizers — Black Students United, Haven, TANGO and Mosaic — came together “not only mourn, but to begin an ongoing conversation about ways to actively advocate for and support members of our communities affected by these multiple forms of oppression,” said the Facebook page.
March 31 was Transgender Day of Visibility. Intuitively, the media industry is in a better place than just a few years ago when it comes to trans visibility; in 2015, The Danish Girl was nominated for multiple Oscars, and Transparent for several Emmys. Yet, critiques of these media representations by trans writers and activists reveal that the narrative of representation and progress is not so simple: though there is an increase in the depiction of trans stories, they are still overwhelmingly being told by cis people. In a media landscape where, according to a media-monitoring report by GLAAD, 53 percent of depictions of trans characters since 2002 have been negative, and a large chunk of the rest involve typecasting characters in victim or sex worker roles (who, it’s important to note also deserve to have their stories told), clearly, the depiction of trans people on TV and movies has not been fair, accurate, or nuanced. So when we see an increase in trans characters who are complex and humanized — even as main characters in a couple works last year — it’s easy to herald those as progress.
On Friday afternoon, there was standing room only in the Goldwin Smith English Lounge as Prof. Masha Raskolnikov, English and feminist, gender, & sexuality studies introduced TransRhetorics, a conference exploring interdisciplinary approaches within the field of Transgender Studies and the rhetorics that represent transgender lives.