by Joe Siegel/TRT Reporter
MASSACHUSETTS–Transgender Awareness Week 2010 will be observed from November 13th to November 20th. This week will be dedicated to educating the public about the transgender community and the pressing issues that are currently facing transgender people in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) has announced that events and educational opportunities will be planned around the state by MTPC and a variety of other organizations and community groups. The Network/La Red is co-sponsoring this year’s Transgender Awareness Week 2010.
“Public education is the key to any policy change. While passing legislation is extremely important, it is also essential that we work to eliminate unfair myths and negative stereotypes that exist about transgender people,” said Gunner Scott, Executive Director of MTPC.
The week will conclude on November 20th with the observance of International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) with events being held nationwide, including Boston on November 20.
International Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time when transgender and allied communities gather to memorialize victims of anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder in Boston on November 28th, 1998, kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder – like most anti-transgender murder cases – remains unsolved.
“Violence and discrimination against transgender people need to be addressed because they are rampant,” said Genny Beemyn, Director of the Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
“At last year’s Day of Remembrance, we recognized more than 100 people from around the world who had been killed in the previous year because of their gender identity or expression. And these were just the people we knew about because the police considered their deaths to be bias crimes, the media covered their murders, and activists picked up on it,” Beemyn added.
Discrimination is also a problem. Last month, the first national report on the climate for LGBT people at college campuses, entitled The State of Higher Education for LGBT People, was released. It found that 39% of the transgender and gender nonconforming respondents had experienced harassment on their campuses and 63% hide their gender identity to try to avoid intimidation.
Previous events for Transgender Awareness Week have included: book reading and signings, worship services, and film screenings.
Organizations, congregations, college groups, civic groups, and community members are encouraged to increase their awareness and knowledge about transgender communities and issues transgender people face by attending one of the community events or by planning one of their own, such as a transgender movie screening, a book discussion, or a panel of transgender speakers.
For more information on Transgender Awareness Week, please contact MTPC firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (617) 778-0519 or visit their website at www.masstpc.org. For other TDOR Vigils across the nation, visit: www.transgenderdor.org/