Friday, November 19, 2010

Brody's Scribbles... In Honor of Trans Kids- The “Silent Epidemic"

Riki Wilchins was the Executive Director of GenderPAC until the organisation shuttered its doors in late May of 2009. She is now the Director of Programs & Research for TrueChild, a Washington D. C. based program development and action center, that works with local partners to develop interventions that challenge the rigid gender codes that adversely impact young people's well-being. TrueChild is particularly concerned with the challenges faced by at-risk or disadvantaged youth, like those who are of colour or LGBT. She is also author of Queer Theory/Gender Theory: An Instant Primer.
The following excerpts are from a column written by Ms. Wilchins published online by The Advocate in honour of the celebration of the Transgender Day of Remembrance tomorrow, Saturday, November 20th.
Riki Wilchins
By Riki Wilchins (Washington DC) NOV 19 | The nine recently reported suicides of boys savagely bullied at school have been rightly deemed tragedies — the outpouring of sympathy, outrage, and empathy from the LGBT and mainstream press, community, and leadership has brought the issue of teen suicide to national attention.
But in reading the blogs and watching the news reports, I couldn’t help but think about the untimely deaths of LGBT kids whose stories haven’t been heard. Imagine if those nine young people had been killed, violently, by their peers. It’s unthinkable. Then push further: Imagine the outrage and sadness if it had been not nine but a dozen. Not a dozen but two dozen. Not two dozen but three or four or five or six dozen dead kids.
This plague of violence has been remarkably and sadly stable for more than a decade. Another transgender kid murdered about every three months. Put another way, between the untimely death of 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover in April 2009 and 13-year-old Asher Brown in September 2010, another eight or nine transgender kids were probably murdered. Where is the outcry? Where are our tears?
This remains the “silent epidemic.” I am not aware of any national organization or funder that has prioritized the violence that stalks these kids. For such a compassionate and caring community, we seem to have totally forgotten the “disposable” kids in our midst.
Is it asking too much for our national organizations, which do so much to determine public discourse, to take public and active stands against this epidemic? Is it asking too much for our foundations to invest in stopping this plague of violence?
Is it asking too much for us as a movement to own these kids and this violence as our own and to do something about it?
As a transgender person myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that as a community and a movement, we don’t “own” transgender kids — alive or dead — in anywhere near the same way we do gay kids. How else could we grieve so profoundly over these nine untimely and tragic deaths and say so little about an appalling and ongoing epidemic that has claimed scores more?
To read the entire article by Ms. Wilchins,  please go here: [ Link ]