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.
“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.
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.