Transgender Day of Remembrance: Why Do We Die?

kate bornsteinDeja Nicole Greenlaw
deja nicole greenlaw

Deja Nicole Greenlaw

By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist–

It is November, and to a transperson, our thoughts turn to the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. This is the day when we pay homage to all of those transgenders who have died because of who they are. In this particular column, I will explore two of the causes of why we die.

Most of the transgender people who have died did so at the hands of men who have sex with them. The usual scenario is not what you might think, that the man and the transperson hook up and upon realizing that the transperson has different genitals than expected, the man suddenly snaps and kills the transperson. This is not so. In reality, the man knows that this person is trans and desires to have sex, does so, and afterward something else snaps in the man. What could make him murder his lover? I can’t say for sure, but I believe that it is because the man may think that loving a transperson is unacceptable in society, and that if anyone ever finds out, he fears that he will pay dearly for it.

There are many men who desire to have sex with and love a transperson. I know this for a fact because of the presence of many internet porn sites that offer pictures and movies of transwomen. I’ve personally experienced desires from men, as I am on several internet dating sites and I receive emails from men interested in me. Most of the time these men never even get to the point of asking me out on a date. Sometimes we do set a date, but I get stood up. Occasionally a man will actually show.

Why do these men show interest in me, yet won’t meet me in person? It’s most likely that I am a fantasy for them and nothing more, because they are scared of what others might think. They may truly desire me, but they cannot bring themselves to be with me in public because of fears of their friends and family members finding out that they like a transwoman. They may be afraid of being called gay or a weirdo. Of course there is nothing wrong with having sex and loving a transperson, but currently society still places us into a taboo category.

Now, I am not taking the blame away from a man who murders a transwoman. Make no mistake; I believe that a murderer is a murderer. What I am saying is that a big part of why he decides to kill us after sex is because of the way society views us. He cannot, and will not, accept that he wants to be with us, and he is afraid of the repercussions of society. The easiest way to erase these feelings is to kill us. No one will ever know. He will then be free from the social stigma of having been with a transperson.

The other reason that we die is through suicides. We may grow tired of the way that society looks at us. Imagine, every single day that you wake up, you have to face the reality that you were not born in your correct gender and that you must do things to try to correct these issues. You may encounter stares, looks of disapproval, being ignored by people who don’t want anything to do with you, and then you return home to an empty home because people are afraid of being with you. Oh, you may have many friends, and people may love you, but it’s not the kind of love that makes people want to share their life with you.

Adding bullying, threats and people making fun of you also contributes to your thoughts of suicide. Your parents, children, your ex and your friends may not want anything to do with you. That hurts very deeply and adds to your woes. Then the big one hits you. You get to the point that no matter what you do, you come to the realization that you will never be fully accepted in society as your correct gender. The combination of all of these things may result in you taking your life because you cannot take it anymore.

The bottom line is that until we get society to fully accept us, we will always be having Transgender Day of Remembrances.

*Deja Nicole Greenlaw is a local transwoman who has 3 grown children and works at 3M. She can be contacted at

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2 Comments on "Transgender Day of Remembrance: Why Do We Die?"

  1. deja nicole, i believe you have pretty much got it right… and more is the pity. we die because people hate themselves. one of the primary causes for the world’s woes.

  2. What we are up against is that somewhere around 1000CE the aristocracy, who was essentially the church – and vice-versa – discovered that they were doing a lot worse on God’s scorecard than the people of Sodom did, according to their own scriptures.

    Move forward to 1946 when the RSV did a global search and replace between Sodomite and homosexual (not even a word in English until 1892). Biblically this is not correct as the little episode between Lot and the Men of Sodom was all about heterosexual males attempting to perform putative rape on two strangers, who Lot, a foreigner himself who had bought his position as a gatekeeper, went out to the strangers as they approached, bowed to them and invited them into his home for the night.

    The usual custom was for strangers to go to the town square and wait for someone to invite them in for the night. In essence, the men of Sodom were out to punish these two strangers for violating their customs by raping them, which would reduce them to the status of women. This practice is still very common in the Middle East and parts of Africa where the man, woman, child, slave, infidel hierarchy is still enforced.

    A good definition of what we are up against is the song You’ve Got To Be Taught, from the musical South Pacific

    In the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 16: 48 – 52, is the only place in the Bible where the sin of Sodom was defined – and sexuality was not a part of the sins that caused Yahweh to smote ’em.

    “You’ve got to be taught
    To hate and fear
    You’ve got to be taught
    From year to Year
    It’s got to be drummed
    in your dear little ear
    You’ve got to be carefully taught

    You’ve got to be taught
    To be Afraid
    Of people whose eyes
    are oddly made
    And people whose skin
    Is a different shade
    You’ve got to be carefully taught

    You’ve got to be taught
    Before it’s too late
    Before you are 6 or 7 or 8
    To hate all the people
    your relatives hate
    You’ve got to be carefully taught” From South Pacific

    It would seem that the Abrahamic Religions, in their Fundamentalist sects, all share a phobia about anything that contradicts the sexual binary (which does not exist in nature) and same sex penetrative sex – or sex outside of marriage.

    Just like governments, mankind seems to have a really hard time coming up with religions that do not become theocracies once they gain a majority of the population of a nation or culture.

    Good perspective Nicole. I think you’ve nailed it here. My experiences parallel yours. However, there is another aspect that often gets overlooked about why we die. For a small percentage of transsexuals, full transition is a must. If they can not get it, eventually it will destroy them emotionally, spiritually and physically. The U.S. is the only major nation in the world that does not cover transitional medicine to any significant degree. Among “must ops” who “can’t op”, by virtue of not having the financial resources to pay for what they need. We also have a consensus of opinion, even among medical and psychologists that states that even for these people – that have a medical history that contraindicates “elective surgery” they will deny them on this basis, even though the AMA, in their Resolution 122-A08 states that transitional medicine is both medically appropriate and necessary.

    Most people still believe that full sexual revision is a mere choice for everyone – and this is causing essentially the same suicide rate, or premature death by self-destructive behaviors, stress related illness and suicide, among can’t ops, as that experienced by transsexuals, in general, prior to the advent of transitional medicine. That suicide rate is deemed to be about 90%.

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