Transgender Awareness Month and Day of Remembrance

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Tue, 11/17/2009 - 12:00am

Every year dozens of individuals are brutally murdered because they are transgender or simply perceived as gender variant. Rather than decreasing, the number of these deaths has increased in the last few years, possibly as a backlash against gay-marriage legislation.  In order to memorialize those who have died for their gender presentations, activists founded the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th.  This year, Oregon Governor Kulongoski proclaimed the day a statewide day of remembrance; and the entire month of November has been dedicated to transgender awareness.

In this episode of Gender Blender, co-hosts Jacob Anderson-Minshall and Laura Calvo spoke to the organizers of some of those events including:  Allison Cleveland, Executive Director of Eugene’s Gender Center and a key player in eliciting the governor’s proclamation; Natalia from Portland State University’s Queer Resource Center, which is sponsoring the local Transgender Day of Remembrance events, including a concert by trans musicians Katastrophe and Athens Boys Choir (aka Katz); and queer performer Peterson Toscano who will be presenting his one-man play, “Transfigurations—Transgressing Gender in the Bible,” Thursday, November 19th at the Epworth United Methodist Church, 1333 SE 28th Street in Portland.

Three songs were played on the show, “Mourner’s Prayer,” by Athens Boys Choir; “Just a Girl” and “Living in America” both by the all trans woman band Lipstick Conspiracy.

CORRECTION:  In discussing a denomination that had recently reaffirmed its anti-gay stanch, Jacob accidentally said Unitarian, which was not correct.  He was actually referring to the United Methodist Church, which, at its 2008 General Conference reiterated its anti-gay language while allowing a transgender man to retain his ministry.  Jacob apologizes for infering that the Unitarians aren't tolerant of lesbians and gay congregations, which they are.

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