Today, we recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to honour the many trans and non-binary lives lost to hate. It is also an opportunity to educate ourselves about the continued issues that trans people face every day and what we can do to help.
Now more than ever, trans and non-binary people need support. They are more likely to attempt suicide, to self-harm and to experience homelessness compared to their cisgender counterparts. And now, with the rise of anti-trans sentiment in Canada and the introduction of anti-trans legislation, the threat of violence is even greater.
Just this year, the governments of Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have put in place laws that target and endanger trans and non-binary children. For students who do not feel safe to come out at home, these laws force them to stay in the closet and deny who they truly are for fear of being outed involuntarily. And for those who do get outed, they face the very real possibility of violence or homelessness.
This cannot continue. Trans and non-binary people deserve to be safe and treated with respect.
How can allies help? Using inclusive language is one basic way to respect Two-Spirt, trans and non-binary people.
We can also take time to educate ourselves on trans issues, volunteer our time with local organizations or support them whichever way we can. If you don’t know where to start, here is a good jumping-off point:
- Trans Pulse Canada (bilingual). This organization studies issues related to trans and non-binary people in Canada.
- Aide aux trans du Québec (bilingual). This Québec based organization offers support and resources for trans and non-binary people.
- Trans Sask (English). This resource network based in Saskatchewan is on the frontlines making schools in the province a safer place.
- NB Transgender Health Network (English). This organization offers resources and helps trans and non-binary folks navigate the healthcare system.