The Paw Print
Sunday night was filled with light, candle light that is. ASU Prizm, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) organization on campus, Campus Ministries, Newman Club, and CASA held a candle light vigil to honor and observe a national event known as Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).
TDOR was initiated by Rita Hester’s murder in 1998 in San Francisco. A candle light vigil was held for her in 1999 to commemorate the unsolved murder of Rita and other anti-transgender murders. Every year more and more murders are attributed to anti-transgender violence and are largely left un-investigated. TDOR is an event that sheds light on anti-transgender violence and honors those who might otherwise be left dead and forgotten.
As of Sunday, Nov. 18, 40 individuals were memorialized at the ASU observance of TDOR. As of Monday, Nov. 19, 51 individual were counted. By Nov. 20, a new year of numbers will start with hopes to reduce the names on the list and eventually get rid of the list altogether. More information can be found at the transgenderdor.org website as well as a list of names that is and will be memorialized this year.
According to Kim Pearson, co-founder of one of the nation’s largest transgender advocacy groups Tans Youth Families and Allies (TYFA), about one in every 250 individuals is transgender. The transgender community is largely misunderstood even by their gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer counterparts.
Where sexual orientation is explained as who one goes to bed with, gender identity is who one goes to bed as. Transgender identity is an umbrella term designating any individual who violates social gender norms of male or female exclusively. The though is often that the biological sex of having an xx or an xy chromosome is the determining factor of the gender, but as psychology can explain, gender is an identity independent of the biological sex.
Gender identity can even mean something different than gender expression, which is how others see a person as a human, be it male, female, or androgynous. Gender expression is how a person will act, dress, behave, and interact with others. These things are also independent of sexual orientation which is who a person is attracted to, be it another male (heterosexual or gay), another female (heterosexual or lesbian), both (bisexual), neither male or female (a-sexual), or a variety of other orientations that do not fit into the previously mentioned categories.
ASU’s first TDOR vigil was beautifully done and heartfelt by a large number of ASU students, faculty, and staff, as well as a surprising showing from the surrounding communities. Forty-five candles lit McDaniel hall room 101 at 5:30 p.m. A small discussion took place following the vigil as well as a light meal.
Topics of gender identity and expression were discussed as well as communication about the world map of transgender deaths, Brazil having the most reported deaths. The discussion and intermission was followed by ASU Prizm’s second premier of Trans the movie which gave the audience a better understanding of the life experience of a transgender person. If this topic moves anyone and they would like to help solve the problem they are asked to please join ASU Prizm as they meet every Thursday from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. in the Student Life Center of the Student Union Building, and help them meet the mission of never again having a TDOR.