Tuesday, March 11, 2008

March 25th Event at UVIC

This year has seen an unheard of number of queerphobic (transphobic, homophobic etc: a fear of people of different gender presentations and sexualities) acts of violence have occurred globally. Every year at the end of November campus groups, trans activists and LGBTTIQ groups world wide gather to remember the dead of the past year. Each year typically 15 to 20 names are read at Trans Day of Remembrance vigils from San Francisco to New York, and Victoria to Rio. Many of the victims are the result of unsolved crimes, bodies found floating in bodies of water, or shot on the street corners. Many of the crimes are obvious in their intention - hatred and fear of people living in a way that doesn't fall within the "norm". Many of the dead are former sex workers, a profession which is one of the few options available to some trans people, who have been judged, dismissed and fetishized.

This year since the 20th of November (less than 4 months) the world has seen the same amount of deaths as is usually seen in an entire year. One of the most recent was the death of 15 year old Lawrence King in Oxnard California on February 12th. He was shot in the head by a classmate, Brandon McInerney, 14 in the computer lab of their school. It is believed that he was killed for being openly gay and presenting in a feminine manner.

This has caused action to be stirring in lgbttiq circles and activist networks around the world including the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network), and locally UVIC Pride.

Uvic Pride will be holding a demonstration, workshops and quilting bee during the week of the 25th of March. The demonstration will begin at 1:30 outside the Library at the Fountain area of the main quad. There will a die-in, during which the names of the dead since november 20th will be read and visually represented. Hankies of various colours will be decorated and hung around the fountain, all holding the stories of queerphobic violence. Transactivists and speakers Dana Waldman, Chris Tuttle and myself will be speaking. There will be 2 workshops directly following the demonstration to give a better grasp on terms and appropriate ways in which to stand up in resistance to queerphobia. Later in the afternoon a film will be screened. All of the hankies from the demonstration will be transported to a different location (TBA) for a quilting bee on Friday afternoon. The quilting bee hopes to give all participants a chance to share, build a unified resistance and create a large scale visual of community coming together to heal and resist the ignorant acts that threaten our safety and well being.

Organizers would like to see this event plant the seeds for a trans network in Victoria. There have been many attempts over the years, but typically there tends to be a divide between FTM and MTF communities, and as with many activist groups, organizers burning out and groups fading out. Please attend these events or contact me if you are interested in being a part of this new step to an allied trans front on Vancouver Island.

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