Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Irresistible Temptation:Exploiting Our Dead

Last year I wrote Photo Ops, Donations, And The Selling of Our Dead, when the Human Rights Campaign tried to hijack the Washington D.C. Transgender Day of Remembrance.

To refresh your memory, the founder of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, Gwen Smith, said of the day:
"The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgendered people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence."
Apparently that scope isn't wide enough for the folks in Orlando, Florida. They've set out to expand the day to Transgender Day Of Remembrance and Inspiration. Part of that "inspiration" is to fundraise for the Orlando Youth Alliance. I'm sure it's an oversight, but the Orlando Youth Alliance's website asks:

  • Are you curious about your sexuality?

  • Are you having problems dealing with the issues of your sexuality?

and states that:
Almost every GLBTQ youth has questions about their sexuality at some point in their life.
and their donation page, a goal of their fundraising efforts is to help build a:
24 hr safe house for those who have been kicked out of their homes due to their
Transgender children generally are kicked out of their homes for their gender presentation, not thier sexuality.

Another ironic aspect is that one of the sponsors is Tri-ess. Tri-ess describes itself as:
an educational, social and support group for heterosexual crossdressers, their partners, the spouses of married crossdressers and their families.
One only needs to look as far as their email list descriptions to get an idea of how transsexuals are viewed within Tri-ess:
Those of you with strong, militant transsexual attachments, please move on. This list is not for you. For the purposes of this list, those with "militant transsexual attachments" are defined as those who actively promote transsexualism.
Most of the people aren't on the TDOR list are transsexuals (or people living full time in their chosen gender), not crossdressers.

The Day of Remembrance isn't a day for inspiration or fundraising. It's a solemn day that should be revered as such. It's not a day to sell our dead for money or motivation.

Cross posted from


Gray G. said...

I'm a little confused by the paragraph - "Most of the people aren't on the TDOR list are transsexuals (or people living full time in their chosen gender), not crossdressers." Is there a missing or extra word here? Assuming TDOR is Transgender Day Of Remembrance who does this statement claim is or is not on the list? If you're going to get angry, get angry, but read what you write. Badly worded statements reduce the credibility of all of our statements.

helen_boyd said...

a question, marti: would it be acceptable if the group were specifically helping trans youth?

or is it the fundraising itself that is the issue?

mind you, i'm not disagreeing that this is a problem. i'm just wondering which part is the bigger problem, since there seems to be a lot of co-opting of TDOR going around these days, & i think as a community we need to be clear on what's offensive here.

Melissa said...

I also have an objection to the GL part of the community co-opting TDOR for their own fundraising means. After all, when it came to ENDA, they were quick enough to leave the T part out for "expediency". Seems we are good enough to be a part of the community if our participation can be taken advantage of, but otherwise, we aren't worth the effort. Having watched the ebb and flow, I find that the transgender community is only regarded as an equal partner in the GLBT community when we make a big enought noise about being ignored.

Samantha said...

I find it a stunning reversal of time and space that has me agreeing passionately with Marti, considering that in the past I've not been her greatest fan.

Typo's not withstanding (which frankly as a life long dyslexic I didn't notice unless I read the comments, Marti's piece was very well written and spot on! Frankly, the DOR has enough issues with the likes of the Tri-ess types hijacking it for their own greedy purpose.

Last year was the first DOR I didn't go to since I officially "joined" the community. Go ahead, ask me why? Well, I'm glad you asked! Let me tell you.

Because it was so easy to find where and when it was being held last year that two months of looking only turned up the time, date and location quite awhile AFTER it happened. That's right, as a footnote.

Tri-ess folks, forgive me, but start your own damn fund raising bonanza. It's a great day to put on all you finery, layer on makeup with a trowel, and talk about how miss-understood you all are. Is it the mockery you make of women everywhere? Or just the entitled, elitist attitude that has you look down you nose at women with real challenges. Oh dear, I detect a tone in my own prose, might I be one of them there militant transsexual folks?

Who knows. I certainly don't think so, goodness knows I've disagreed with Marti more than I've ever agreed with her, but right now. Wow, well said Marti. Well said! Thanks!

I think if anyone should be doing "fund raising" and awareness at the DOR, it would be people who are working to be sure it continues, that victims families can be helped, that awareness can be raised about the issues that cause the need for the day.

Tri-ess, what you are doing here is every bit as slimy as trying to do your own fund raising during breast cancer month, and hitching an easy ride there. This is slimy and dispicable, you really should be ashamed of yourselves...

Then again, you are suffering from a kind of poison that warps your mind and turns everything into a quick buck. So I guess maybe that's the problem...