Sheridan marks Transgender Day of Remembrance

By Raymond Cabbab and Tarun Paul Singh

The Sheridan Student Union, TRC Sheridan Pride Club, and Sheridan’s ‘Building Positive Space Committee’ commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Transgender Day of Remembrance with an observance honouring the memory of transgender and gender diverse people whose lives were lost as a result of anti-transgender violence, hatred or prejudice.

Poster for Transgender Day of Remembrance at Sheridan College. (Photo credit Sheridan Insider)

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by the transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith, to honour the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.

“That we are still the target of so, so much hatred and violence just for being who we are illustrates just how far we have yet to go,” Smith said.

Gwendolyn Ann Smith, transgender advocate who started the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Smith says that in the last two decades, she feels that a lot of progress has been made as far as visibility of transgender people is concerned — but that visibility can be a double-edged sword:

“We are seen in this world in popular media like Pose and other things, but we also have become targets of the conservative movement, eager to continue in the culture war after losing the marriage battle. There is still a great deal to be done. We are still fighting for some of the most basic of rights, chief among these is the right to exist in this world; to use basic facilities in line with our gender identity; to participate in society at practically any level but the lowest.”

Smith also said the key to transgender and gender-diverse advocacy is listening.

“Release your preconceived notions and just… listen to us. See what we face, and understand how you might be able to use your talents to help,” Smith said.

Sheridan President Janet Morrison said that the Sheridan College’s community believes itself to be a learning community committed to diversity, equity, and inclusivity.

“It is imperative that Sheridan provides a forum to raise awareness about the issues the transgender community faces,” Morrison said.

New research found 331 cases of reported killings of Trans and gender diverse people between 1 October 2018 and 30 September 2019.

Peter Amponsah, an associate dean in the Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies, said, “The community is made up of healthy, contributing citizens to society, just like everyone else. However, their experiences of everyday systems, institutions, and interactions with people may send the message that they don’t belong.”

Amponsah believes that, as Canadians in a society that prides itself on diversity, multiculturalism, and a quality standard of life, we have a responsibility to recognize the Trans community and act in solidarity to challenge our social norms and create safe spaces for our transgendered members to exist.

About Tarun Paul Singh 6 Articles
Tarun Paul Singh worked in Sheridan Media as a chase producer and newsflash host. Main interest are news reporting, writing and covering legal news and investigative journalism.

14 Comments

  1. Good job your choice good topics and talk about them keep doing what you do. Please put your interviews on Youtube please.

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