Humber College marks Transgender Day of Remembrance

Nov 19, 2021 | Campus News, News

Humber College held an ally-led ceremony on Friday for Transgender Day of Remembrance, with participants observing two minutes of silence in support of the school’s transgender community.

“We’d like to acknowledge the countless missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, trans and two spirits,” said Chantal Joy, an associate dean at Humber.

Transgender Day of Remembrance was established in response to the killing of Rita Hester, a black trans woman in Massachusetts.

The number of transgender people killed in 2021 rose to a new global high of 375, according to a report released on Nov. 11 by the Transrespect Versus Transphobia organization.

However, this number likely doesn’t tell the whole story, with many instances of trans deaths being rendered invisible by underreporting, misgendering, and mislabelling their cause of death, Joy said.

“We aim to take responsibility for our own learning, and to stand in solidarity with those who identify,” she said.

“Personally, I aim today to mourn the bright lights extinguished because of prejudice, discrimination, and colonization and to use my privileges as a white straight cisgender woman to effect change,” Joy said.

Humber College has made donations to various organizations to support transgender remembrance and awareness.

Christine Galvin, manager of leadership and advocacy for IGNITE, said planning was underway for workshops on how to build awareness and create safer spaces for the community.

“We’ll be organizing workshops centering transgender voices about how to create safer spaces and post-secondary institutions, including more work by transgender artists in our students’ spaces, and working with a queer-led consulting firm to assess and research how we can create safer spaces for the transgender community in places like washrooms and change rooms,” Galvin said.

“Transgender lives will continue to be unjustly taken as long as there is still work to do,” she said.

Galvin feels more transgender and LGBTQ+ awareness is needed, and not just a day where we reflect.

“It’s important to share that the work of being an ally takes action, not only the responsibility of Student Success and Engagement or the LGBTQ plus Resource Centre,” Galvin said.

“My hope is that this reflection becomes a regular practice and not just something that happens on transgender day of remembrance,” she said.

Shaun Carson, associate director of Student Life and Learning at Humber, said being alone is among the worst of feelings.

“These organizations are there to make sure that people aren’t alone,” Carson said.