Jez Farmer pays tribute to those who lost or took their own lives as a result of abuse or hate crime ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance

On November 20 each year the transgender community holds a day of remembrance in memory of people killed due to anti-transgender hatred and prejudice. The first TDOR was held in 1999 in honour of Rita Hester who was murdered in a hate crime. Sadly, like many others, her case has never been solved and her killers have not been brought to justice.

Today the purpose of TDOR is multifaceted. It is to honour and mourn the lives of transgender people who may otherwise be forgotten. It is an opportunity to express love and respect despite the indifference and hatred we face. As the transgender community and our families and friends stand in memory of those who have been killed by hate crime we raise public awareness of hate crimes against our community. By doing that we begin to break down the barriers of misinformation that lead to discrimination, prejudice and hate crime.

Hate crime isn't always about violence and murder. The aftershock of verbal abuse can be long-lasting and soul-destroying. What may have been seen as a bit of fun on a belly full of beer could well be the last straw for the victim of verbal abuse. I know how a verbal incident left me when I was at a strong point; if I had been at one of my lowest ebbs I don't like think how that would have gone.

On November 20, TransSwindon and Swindon Transgender Group will remember transgender people who, through fear of rejection, discrimination and social alienation, took their own lives.

I attended a Gender Identity Clinic appointment yesterday, the first since my surgery. While waiting I overheard a conversation about discrimination and how trans people should all hide away to avoid it. Shortly after a young Female to Male guy came in and I had to rewrite this piece. If my generation of trans people hide away, he will suffer that same hate and prejudice we have faced throughout his life. It is easy to say, ‘We should live with it’ but it wasn’t so long ago racism was seen as socially acceptable.

Times have changed.