Current Affairs

“We will not be erased”: Oxford students hold memorial for Trans Day of Remembrance

CW: suicide, violence against transgender people

Students gathered in Radcliffe Square on Friday morning to remember transgender and gender non-conforming victims of violence in 2020.

Students sat in Radcliffe Square and watched over the memorial as passers-by paid their respects and laid flowers. Placards and posters tied to Radcliffe Camera’s railings displayed the names of 242 victims of violence against trans people. The remaining 108 victims have not been named due to discrepancies in police reports.

Organiser Elliot Brooke told The Blue: “this problem exists in all countries. We are here. We will not shut up. We need to act.”

Image credit: Zachary Elliott

Lower estimates suggest that 350 trans and gender non-conforming people have died globally as a result of violence between October 2019 and October 2020, of which 152 were in Brazil. This figure does not include victims of suicide.

Police forces around the world have been accused of neglecting trans people, with misgendering and lack of recognition being common globally. Amnesty International says that governments have “failed” to protect trans people from murder in 2020, as the US reports its deadliest year for the trans and gender non-conforming communities.

Attendants sought to highlight the issues which the trans community faces in 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic making it even more difficult to get the support needed.

20 November is Trans Day of Remembrance, coming at the end of this year’s Transgender Awareness Week. This has been marked by events and memorials held across Oxford colleges.

Friday’s memorial also forms part of Wadham College’s Queer Week which is hosted every year in the 6th week of Michaelmas term. It celebrates and explores LGBT+ matters from around the world. This year’s ‘Pride in a Pandemic’ theme has a special focus on healthcare and wellbeing.

In a Facebook statement, Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society asked students to turn off their lights for 10 minutes at 6pm on Friday in order to commemorate the trans people who have lost their lives this year.

To get involved, readers are advised to reach out to the TransOxford Support Group on Facebook. Readers may also wish to leave flowers at the display in Radcliffe Square over the coming days.

Image credit: Zachary Elliott (https://zacharye.com/).