Saturday, November 24, 2012

NL Trans Community Commemorate TDOR 11/20/2012

After hosting a very successful TDOR event in 2011, which brought widespread attention to trans issues, I was reluctant to get involved in any TDOR events this year, out of a fear of a let down. However, when I was approached by a volunteer team representing LBGT-MUN and MUNSU (organizations which I didn't get along with last school year), I felt it was important to not only accept and reach out, but to take action to put together the best possible event we could.  Ultimately, we co-hosted a very successful event on  Tuesday night in a large lecture hall in the Science Building.

A statement was read on behalf of Gerry Rogers, the first openly-lesbian person to be voted into provincial public office in Newfoundland - this on the same day she presented a petition to the House asking for trans human rights protection, and the same day she asked the Minister of Health to cancel the CAMH monopoly on funding approval for SRS.

Statements of support were also obtained and read on behalf of Dwight Ball, Leader of the NL Provincial Liberals, Charlene Johnson, NL Minister of Children, Youth and Family Services, Randall Garrison, NDP federal MP who tabled trans rights bill C-279, and Christin Milloy, Ontario Libertarian Candidate in the 2011 Ontario Provincial election - the first openly trans person to seek provincial public office in Canada. An excerpt from a speech delivered at last years event by Noah Davis Power, the youngest person to ever seek provincial political office in NL, was also read.

Also present and delivering speeches included a representative from a local high school Gay/Straight Alliance, a rep from the upcoming national university queer services conference, and a rep from a local grass roots anti-bullying program. 

Most of my time on the microphone featured me reading speeches on behalf of many of these others already mentioned, and I joked that the only person who's speech I did not have, was one for myself. I did go on to state that I would be taking up Minister of Justice Darin King's offer to meet with anyone from the trans community who has gone through the provincial Human Rights process and felt hard done by. I also spoke briefly about concerns that we are now seeing victims of trans death right here in Canada. I also highlighted injustices being done to Ce Ce McDonald in Minnesota, a transwoman who was jailed in a male prison after what many have reported was self-defence, against an attack of three transphobic men.

The event concluded with a candle light vigil, which included a video tribute to the victims.  Amazingly enough, I did not capture any audio, video, or still photos of the event, so this makes it extra important for me to document this event here in my blog.  As historians look back, I think it is very important for documentation to exist, of the hard work done by trans advocates in Newfoundland (even if 99% of that documentation will be about my work).

I was quite pleased to not only see a larger crowd at this last-minute, informal event, than the one I hosted last year, but to see more trans people in attendance, and to even see folks in attendance of whom I have not gotten along with in the past.

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