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Why the TTA Flag-Raising is Racist and Transphobic
TDoR (Transgender Day of Remembrance) is a very important event in our community. It's a day to remember the many trans people who have been murdered due to transphobia (about 1 per week in north america, higher in other places), however it's a bit more complicated than that. Most of this violence is racialized violence that disproportionately affects trans women of color. Related forms of violence, such as homelessness, poverty, criminalization, targeted policing, etc. also disproportionately affect trans women of color, as well as other marginalized trans people, such as homeless trans people and trans sex workers. Unfortunately, State authority is complicit in this violence in many ways.
For a lot of us, TDoR is more than just a symbolic event. We've lost a lot of our friends, community members and chosen family to violence. This is an event we need, so that we can heal, develop and strengthen our community, but instead it's being co-opted away from us by external political agendas and privileged dominant personalities. There are very few spaces for TWOC and other marginalized trans people to reflect on our oppression and develop community, so it's important for us to fight back against opportunists who are purporting to represent us, but actually exclude us from community spaces, and all aspects of political power and organizing. To be clear, toronto has no spaces for trans women to form community, let alone TWOC and homeless trans people, so this event really is one of the truly rare events that should be just for us.
Even at a symbolic level it's problematic to have a flag-raising on TDoR. Flag-raising is an undeniably colonial act of celebration. First TDoR is a day of mourning and resistance: systemic violence is not something to be celebrated. Second, and more importantly, Homophobia and Transphobia were brought over by colonizers, who continue to dominate our community and oppress us. The violence we face--the violence that TDoR recognizes and brings us together to resist-- is racialized violence that disproportionately affects trans women of colour. And we're now approaching the same colonial state that exists on this land illegitimately, to recognize us without acknowledging their continued domination over POC and the transphobic violence that they've created? Raising a flag for TDoR is uncritically using a symbol of colonial state authority from a settler institution on un-ceded territory. It sends a hypocritical message which undermines our collective, anti-racist struggle against violence against trans people.
Many of us have already approached TTA organizers and have been shunned (they're either not responding, or responding by being hostile and trying to silence us, etc.). This in itself is a practice of White Domination, where oppressors make decisions on behalf of people whom they don't represent, based on what they think is right, and silencing any criticism by making it out to be uneducated, ill-informed, or ill-intentioned.
Another racist tactic that the TTA uses that comes from practices of White Domination is called Divide and Conquer. This is where they pick a few select people who agree with them from a population that they are dominating, breaking down and conquering, and use those voices to silence the rest. In this case, the TTA is using a very few select community members who do not understand anti-racist analysis and practices developed in communities of color, and are not interested in learning. Those few people are then used as tokens to show that they are being "inclusive", where what is really happening is that they are silencing trans women (esp. trans women of color) and trying to force us into accepting them as our representatives.
Protest Against The TTA's Racist Flag-raisings (Tue Nov 20th)
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