RSM Algonquin Statement on 2014 Trans Day of Remembrance

According to a prominent GLB organization, Pride Toronto, Trans Day of Remembrance ‘serves several purposes’ from ‘raising public awareness of hate-crimes against trans people’ to mourning and honoring ‘the lives of our “brothers and sisters” who might otherwise be forgotten.’

We, the Revolutionary Student Movement: Algonquin College Chapter, understand Trans Day of Remembrance to be a day to mourn victims of misogyny and trans misogyny who face a spectrum of violent attacks daily, and a time to memorialize the courageous resistance that trans communities have been showing through struggle since the inception of brutal patriarchal class economic relations. We also believe it is a time to reflect on our structural and personal anti-trans tendencies and actions in order to dismantle our internalized misogyny and trans misogyny.

On this day, we remember the words of the Radical Caucus of the North American Conference of Homophile Organizations spoken in August of 1970, “ We see the persecution of homosexuality [and we understand this to extend to all queer and trans people] as a part of a general attempt to oppress all minorities and make them powerless…. A common struggle, however, will bring common triumph.” We remember that within a week after the Stonewall Rebellion, the Gay Liberation Front formed – naming itself to honor the National Liberation fronts (the national resistance movements) in Algeria and Vietnam –, and demanded in solidarity with the Black liberation movement, “Power to the People!”

We remember that our comrade Huey P. Newton, while Chairman of the Black Panther Party, worked for there to be full participation of the gay liberation movement and the women’s liberation movement in the BPP’s revolutionary conferences, rallies, and demonstrations. We remember that he urged revolutionaries to excise any historical anti-gay references because it is the bourgeoisie that are the enemies of the people. He reminded revolutionaries then, and he reminds revolutionaries now, that it is against the bourgeoisie that we must struggle, and it is standing in solidarity with revolutionary LGBTQ* people as well as all oppressed communities that we will achieve freedom.

This particular day, the 20th of November, was chosen to honor Rita Hester whose murder on November 28th, 1998, lead to the first candlelight vigil in San Francisco in 1999.

We urge all revolutionaries to support the initiatives that exist on your campuses and in your cities to memorialize the trans people who fell victim to trans misogyny. We believe we must struggle to build with our queer and trans comrades relationships of support and solidarity, of communal action and common struggle, not unlike the relationship the Young Lords had with Silvia Rivera and STAR. “It was just the respect they [the Young Lords] gave us as human beings, Silvia Rivera said. They gave us a lot of respect.”

We remember the historical legacy of communal action and close-ties between anti-capitalists and queer & trans folks. We remember that we are here to learn from one another and to struggle with one another; let us not forget the words of Lilla Watson, “If you come here to help me, you’re wasting your time. If you come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

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