Thursday, March 20, 2008

Featured in the MONDAY MAG.

Fighting Back

By Bill Stuart

A day of action to combat transphobia and homophobia

The recent brutal killing of 15-year-old gay teen Lawrence King in Oxnard, California, at the hands of his classmate was a chilling reminder that hate-fuelled acts of violence are sadly not a thing of the past. This week at UVic, a day of action planned to shed light on the ongoing problems of homophobia and transphobia. Transman activist Hayden-Kori Doty took some time to answer Monday’s questions about the rally and the cause.

Monday: Tell Monday readers about what is planned for this upcoming rally.

Hayden-Kori Doty:  The demonstration and action planned for the 25th of March at UVic is really a four-part event consisting of a rally, workshops, film-screening and community-building art project, all to resist the fear-based violence that threatens queer and trans people today. The event is being held in response to the unusually high numbers of reported homophobic and transphobic attacks and resulting deaths since the Trans Day of Remembrance we hosted on the 20th of November. The number of murders in the last four months alone is equal to the total number of trans people killed in an average year. The rally is a reaction to this violence.

Monday: Who should attend this week’s rally at UVic and why?

HKD:  It is open to everybody. Anyone who has heard of these killings, such as the murder of 15 year old Lawrence King, and would like to take a stand against the hate and injustice that causes these acts to continue is welcome. Also, anyone who would like to learn more about queer and trans people, our stories, our challenges, and learn how to ally themselves with the concerns of queer members of our community. UVic students are highly encouraged, but we would also really like to encourage members of the off campus Victoria community to come over to UVic and get involved.

Monday: How can people combat transphobia and homophobia?

HKD: By learning more, and taking a personal responsibility to educate themselves. Ignorance is one of the biggest causes of transphobia and homophobia. The workshops on Tuesday will be a very good opportunity to access knowledge and resources, but there are also endless resources available online and in book collections like the one at the UVic pride office. The number-one way someone can combat this fear based violence is by treating every person with their due respect and speaking up when people are not being treated with respect.

Monday: What local resources are available for people who have experienced transphobia and homophobia?

HKD:  UVic Pride provides a safe space for queer and ally students, faculty, and community members to hang out. The Anti-Violence Project on campus provides a safe space for anyone suffering from abuse and advocates for equality in relationships.  Student Services and Counselling services provide support for students. There is a sexual assault centre downtown to provide support for victims of sexual assault. The Island Sexual Health Society provides sexual health clinics, education and online resources.

We are also hoping to build a network out of this event.

Monday: Can we call ourselves a civilized society when hate-fuelled murders like those of 15-year-old Lawrence King are still occurring?

HKD:  Seeing things like this continuing to happen reminds us that we still have a lot of work to do. There is still a need for education, resistance, the creation of safe spaces and an elimination of the tolerance that the legal system and media have for this sort of violence.  We—transpeople and sexual minorities—are still widely misunderstood and the fact that we are still dying for that proves there is something seriously wrong.

The rally against transphobia and homophobia takes place starting at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 25 at UVic. Check or contact 472-4393 for details.

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