Race, Transgender Rights and Equality for All

Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler at Blac(k)ademic emphasizes the special issues that should underlie advocacy for transgender people of color. 

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Transgender Day of Remembrance in West Hollywood, Calif. (Hector Mata/AFP/Getty Images)

Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler at Blac(k)ademic emphasizes the special issues that should underlie the advocacy of trans people of color.

Since the first Transgender Day of Remembrance in 1998, the violent deaths of trans women of color, have unfortunately come to dominate the yearly event designed to remember and celebrate the lives of those that are victims of transphobic murders. This year is no different as events around the country are set out to mourn recently deceased trans women of color, such as Brandy Martell, Coko Williams, Paige Clay and Deoni Jones -- all black women whose only crime was daring to live openly.

Notwithstanding the recent advancements in the transgender movement, including the precedent set in extending employee protection rights to all members of the community, the deaths of these women continue to highlight the severe reality of injustice that trans people of color endure in the face of systemic racism. Thus making it very clear that the goal of eradicating gender oppression as a necessary step in the transgender movement, is one that is failing to keep trans people of color alive.

I do not need to stress the importance of Transgender Day of Remembrance as a viable act of visibility and resistance. However, it is not enough for us to simply mourn these victims -- we have to take the necessary steps to destroy the racist institutional barriers that perpetuate their deaths–and not leave the burden of responsibility on communities of color. 

Read Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler's entire piece at Blac(k)ademic.

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