November 20th was Transgender Day of Remembrance and, for the first time ever, Bristol City Council held a public event aimed specifically at trans people. At 2pm the Lord Mayor, the Rt. Hon. Councillor Alastair Watson, raised the transgender flag in front of City Hall. A number of other City Councillors were in attendance.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is an international event held in memory of the hundreds of people killed every year simply because they were deemed to have transgressed social gender norms. In the last year alone, 226 victims from 28 different countries are remembered. There have been a total of 1,612 reported killings of transgender people in 62 countries worldwide since January2008. Transgender murders often involve extreme violence and torture. Several of the victims were teenagers and the youngest was just eight- years-old. The vast majority of the victims identified as female.
Although there was only one known British victim this year, life for transgender people in the UK is by no means easy. Negative portrayals in the media, discrimination and difficulty accessing health care are all major issues. According to the Trans Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Study 2012, 48% of British transgender people had attempted suicide at some time during their lives.
Councillor Watson said: “By raising the transgender flag over City Hall on this important day, Bristol is sending a clear signal to the many trans people who live and work in the city that they are valued members of the community, with as much right to life, health and happiness as any other citizen.”
Martin Spellacey of Bristol City Council Rainbow Group – which organised the event together with Bristol LGBT Forum – said: “While Bristol has recently been voted the best city to live in Britain, this is unfortunately not the case for many transgender people, many of whom face discrimination on a daily basis.”
Listen here to a conversation on Ujima Radio between TransBristol’s Cheryl Morgan and Simon Nelson, the Equality Officer of Bristol City Council. They discuss the Trans Day of Remembrance and how the City Council can do more for its trans citizens (starts 36 minutes into the programme).